After more than a year of the COVID-19 outbreak ravaging the entire world, the end is finally in sight. Many cities have begun to roll out mass vaccination programs, including London, where the latest data states that approximately 45% of the population has received the jab.
The past few weeks have seen London slowly recovering from the outbreak. Given that more than 71 million doses have been administered, restrictions are relaxing and are well on their way to being lifted for good.
With that, let’s take a closer look at the businesses that are re-opening in London.
What is the Population of London?
According to the website MacroTrends, London’s current metro area population is estimated at 9,426,000, which represents a 1.31% increase from 2020. This number has steadily increased since the year 2018, when the city’s total population stood at 9,046,000.
The number of people residing in London makes it the biggest city in the United Kingdom, as well as one of the largest cities in Europe, coming in third behind Istanbul and Moscow.
Its large population also makes it the most diverse city in the United Kingdom, in terms of both ethnicity and religion. For instance, a 2011 census determined that a total of 262,247 people living in London were actually born in India.
That same data further established that 48.4% of residents identified as Christian, 12.39% as Muslim, and the remaining as either Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, or Buddhist. Meanwhile, 20.73% of respondents claimed to follow no religion at all, while 0.6% identified with a faith not mentioned in the census.
The growth rate of London currently stands at 1.31%, although experts claim that this will decrease as the years pass. It’s expected to be at 0.60% by 2035, with an inferred population of 10,556,486.
Are Hotels Open in London?
The country may have entered a third lockdown on January 6, 2021; however, restrictions have significantly eased since then. Last May 17, hotels were finally allowed to open in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, although certain safety measures remain.
For instance, only six people from different households are allowed to stay together. However, two separate households may book the same accommodations without any limits on the number of people included. These restrictions regarding household mixing are set to be lifted on June 21, but reports claim that they’ll remain in place in England until July 19.
Much like hotels, Airbnbs in England have also been allowed to operate once more. All hosts must adhere to the same set of household restrictions, though, which means that large gatherings and events are still highly discouraged.
Are Gyms Open in London?
Based on the latest guidelines, indoor gyms in England can now re-open and begin operating again. However, social distancing rules are still enforced while patrons may only enter alone or with other members of their household.
The same restrictions apply to other indoor leisure facilities, such as swimming pools, dance studios, fitness centers, shooting ranges, and the like. Classes that involve group exercises have also been allowed to resume, although they have to be held indoors. Its leaders or hosts must still enforce face masks and social distancing rules, as well.
On the other hand, outdoor sports, like tennis and golf, have been operating since March 29 after Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi deemed them much safer and much less likely to facilitate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Are Schools Re-Opening in London?
After months of distance learning, children and teenagers across London are finally back inside the classroom. In England, schools resumed on March 8; however, certain restrictions, such as wearing face masks, are still in place.
The government has also required educational institutions to test their students and staff rigorously. For instance, secondary school-aged children in England were made to undergo three different COVID-19 tests in the first two weeks of school.
Since then, they have been given two at-home rapid tests each week to ensure that they remain negative for the virus.
These tests are completely voluntary, though, and will only be administered with the parent or guardian’s consent. Schools are also prohibited from stopping a student from attending their classes if they choose not to test themselves.
If a student, faculty, or staff member tests positive, then they’re required to self-isolate. However, if the test was done at home, their result must be verified by a second test, in which their nose and throat will be swabbed.
When Do Pubs Open in London?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a few days ago that all remaining COVID-19-related restrictions in England would be lifted on July 19. This means that while pubs are allowed to operate, they may only do so with a limited number of diners and with certain safety measures still in place.
For instance, groups of up to six people or two households of any size will be allowed to dine inside. Meanwhile, those in outdoor seating areas are permitted to have up to 30 people in their party.
More than that, though, landlords are required to ensure that all customers over the age of 16 either check-in with the NHS Track and Trace or provide their contact details before leaving the premises.
The wearing of face masks must also be strictly enforced for patrons being shown to their place, going to the toilet, or otherwise not seated at their designated table. Diners who are eating, however, are allowed to set their face masks aside.
Harvey Nichols requires all clothes to be quarantined for at least 48 hrs after being tried on. Its layout was also drastically changed to accommodate social distancing and hand sanitizing stations.
Are Restaurants Open in London?
In London, outdoor hospitality facilities resumed operations on April 12, while indoor ones re-opened on May 17. Both are subject to restrictions, though, such as social distancing and limitations on the number of customers that can be served.
More specifically, outdoor dining areas are allowed to accommodate groups of up to 30 people. All individuals will still be asked to wear face masks when not at their table, despite being outside the restaurant.
On the other hand, indoor facilities may only serve groups that consist of either two households or a maximum of six people from more than two different households. Again, all customers must wear a face mask if they aren’t at their designated table, including when going to the toilet or when being shown to their seats.
Are Theatres Open in London?
In England, theatres were finally allowed to resume operations during the last week of May. The majority of them were quick to announce special performances. For instance, “Hairspray: The Musical” is set to open on June 21, albeit audience members must adhere to social distancing measures.
Thanks to these relaxed restrictions, West End has finally announced premiere dates for some of its most famous shows. For example, the highly-anticipated “Back to the Future: The Musical” will be premiering at the Adelphi Theater on August 20.
That same month, “Hamilton,” “Frozen,” and “Mary Poppins” will also be re-opening their doors. Other musicals, such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Prince of Egypt,” and “The Lion King” will resume much earlier, in mid-July.
When will Shops Re-Open in London?
In London, non-essential shops were allowed to re-open on April 12. Based on the British Retail Consortium’s guidelines, though, all COVID-19-related safety measures will be strictly enforced until further notice. This includes plastic screens at payment points, complimentary hand sanitizer stations, and staggered shift times for employees.
Besides department stores and luxury boutiques, mom-and-pop shops and tailors have also been permitted to resume operations. Many have begun to offer their unsold stock at massively discounted prices in a bid to offset last year’s losses.
Some luxury shops have introduced safety measures that are much stricter than the mandatory ones. For instance, Harvey Nichols requires all clothes to be quarantined for at least 48 hrs after being tried on. Its layout was also drastically changed to accommodate social distancing and hand sanitizing stations.
Are Museums Open in London?
In England and Wales, museums were allowed to re-open on May 17, albeit with safety measures strictly enforced. Patrons are also encouraged to pre-book their visits, especially if they plan to see a specific art exhibition.
For instance, the Victoria and Albert Museum resumed showing off “Alice,” which took guests on a deep dive into the origins of Lewis Carroll’s famous story. Bookings for this exhibit have been accepted since May 22.
While museums have been permitted to resume operations, staff members must remind people to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing rules. Only a limited number of patrons will only be allowed inside too, which is why most aren’t currently accepting walk-ins or those who neglected to book their visit in advance.
London residents may be receiving their COVID-19 vaccines; however, certain restrictions and safety measures will remain in place until the lockdown is officially lifted on June 21. This may be delayed, though, due to reports claiming that the Delta variant of the virus is still on a deadly rampage across the country.
With this in mind, it’s tough to say which restrictions will be removed and which ones will remain with Londoners for the foreseeable future.
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