Campaign launched to save spas, as saunas and steam rooms remain closed
Spa and beauty industry bodies have joined together to urge the Government not to forget about spas, with no reopening date for saunas and steam rooms in England yet announced.
While much of the beauty industry in England has been celebrating a full reopening as of August 15, spas have been left in limbo, with no confirmed reopening date for saunas and steam rooms.
These areas account for 40% of revenue, on average, for spas, according to research from the UK Spa Association (UKSA).However, for some businesses it is up to 75%, and without this reopening date, many remain fully closed and are unable to bring staff back from furlough.
The UK Spa Association (UKSA) has written to the Prime Minister, Chancellor, Secretary of State for BEIS, Secretary of State for DCMS, and Chief Medical Officer to request a reopening date and to further emphasise the evidence around the safety of saunas and steam rooms.
The letter is co-signed by Babtac, British Beauty Council, NHBF and UKactive and reiterates the evidence shared with Government that these spaces are safe to reopen with low risk of Covid-19 transmission, even with shared use. The letter addresses specific areas of potential concern, including:
On-surface transmission and temperature: "There is little evidence of Covid-19 being transmitted through surface contact and high temperatures are known to destroy it, so combining both is a good risk mitigation," the UKSA stated.
Viral load, ventilation rate in litres per second (l/p/s) and air changes per hour (ACPH): The UKSA cited Public Health England report that stated "A single air change is estimated to remove 63% of airborne contaminates with 5 air changes reducing particles to less than 1%", adding, "therefore when the air is changed at least 5 times this will reduce contamination by greater than 99%. As the air flow already far exceeds the parameters stated in the leisure guidance of 20l/p/s, the risk of viral load in a sauna is minimal."
The UKSA therefore advised that saunas and steam rooms would be perfectly safe to operate with the correct protocols and air exchange, and that operating at the optimum temperatures with the correct ventilation and procedures, plus social distancing would be more than sufficient mitigating actions to minimise risk of transmission.
UK Spa Association's suggested guidance for safe operation of saunas and steam rooms includes:
- Calculate capacity to ensure 2m social distancing can be maintained
- Correct signage for capacity for each facility
- Marked areas for individuals
- Bookable time slots
- Operating at optimum temperature for 30 minutes before use and at the end of each day
- Regular cleaning of steam rooms throughout the day (with soapy water)