Popular Hemel play park reopens as lockdown restrictions continue to ease
Lockdown rules are easing in England today, with pubs and restaurants able to serve customers indoors, and social distancing guidelines relaxed
The owner of a soft play business, with centres in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted, is excited to welcome back customers today (May 17)
Children's indoor play centres can reopen from today as the country moves into step 3 of the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown.
Here's everything you need to know about the latest easing of lockdown restrictions.Helen Whittington, who owns DJ's Play Park in Jarman Park with her husband Mark, is excited to welcome back regular customers and look forward to welcoming new families.
She said: "It feels amazing to be open again, and we are fully booked at all three sites today.
"We do have spaces at all the sites for the rest of the week, but it's just great to be back and seeing everyone again.
"There are restricted numbers, socially distanced tables and markers and screens, the enhanced cleaning routines - all of which has made 'doing business' more challenging.
"We've embraced change in the long-run, therefore installed a system that allows online bookings, takes payment, can email customers and keep credits - all suitable for track and trace.
"That has enabled us to become cashless, contactless and keep to capacity, with closing for cleaning in between.
"Customers have also had to adhere to wearing face coverings inside and sit separately and keep a social distance.
"We had a good cleanliness reputation and 5 star food hygiene already, so the extra measures were to keep staff and customers safe and to improve the play experience all round.
"Classes and parties have been on hold unfortunately, so we expect there to be pent-up demand, for a lot of lockdown birthdays to be celebrated with a trip to indoor play with friends (rule of six applies).
"We are fully ready to react to the new covid-safe environment and welcome you back, we believe there's been play dates that have been sorely missed and children's' exercise and socialising has been on hold for too long.
"We provide a clean safe place for families to meet, grab a coffee and chat - the lockdown has proven that simple pleasures such as these are interactions, we all need and our team our so excited to be back to look forward to seeing customers, regulars and new families!"
Emma Hilder visited the soft play centre this morning (Monday), she said: "Well done to DJ’s Play for a fab first morning session!
"Super clean and well organised. Lots of smiles and happy little faces.
"Great to see the kids enjoying themselves and of course to see the wonder DJ’s Monkey mascot, make a special guest appearance!”
The couple also run DJ’s Play Zone in Berkhamsted and DJ's Play Jungle in St Albans.
While DJ's Play Park was closed Helen raised awareness of the sites and completed a crowdfunder project which contributed towards a new Under 2s Sensory area in DJ's Play Park in Hemel Hempstead, and extended the lease on DJ's Play Jungle in St Albans.
Helen also joined the NHS to work on the mass vaccination programme, she used her team management and rostering skills to co-ordinate Alban Arena HCT vaccination centre.