Coronavirus: Manicures and tattoos now possible in England as lockdown eases

Beautician Alex Smith, 26, does the nails of Jules Aspen, 40, at the Madame Beauty salon in Chirton, North Tyneside, as they reopen to customers on following the easing of lockdown restrictions in England

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PA Media

Beauty salons, spas, tattoo parlours and nail bars are welcoming back their first clients for almost four months, as lockdown restrictions ease further in England.

But some treatments, such as eyebrow threading, are still banned, leaving many salons unable to reopen.

In Scotland, indoor shopping centres are allowed to reopen.

In Wales, pubs, bars and restaurants can start serving customers outdoors, while hairdressers can also reopen.

Businesses will be required to follow guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus – and treatments which involve work directly in front of the face will not be available.

Government guidance says services including face waxing, eyebrow threading, eyelash treatments, make-up applications and facials should not be provided because of the greater risk of Covid-19 transmission.

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Naresh Bhana, who runs Flamin’ Eight tattoo studio in north London, said the business was only taking advance bookings, so “you can’t walk off the street unannounced”.

“We can accommodate two or three being tattooed but we stagger their start times,” he said. “Work areas are four metres apart. Everyone’s wearing masks. Clients will wear visors as well.”

He has created a commemorative tattoo for his wife to mark the reopening.

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Sonia Bhana

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The tattoo design to mark the end of lockdown for tattoo parlours was created for Naresh’s wife, Sonia

Beard trims have been allowed since barbers opened last weekend – but should be limited to simple tidy-ups or thinning which can be carried out from the side or by circling the client to avoid the highest risk zone in front of the face, the British Beauty Council has said.

The co-founder of the home beauty service, Blow Ltd, Fiona McIntosh, said the ban on beauty treatments involving the face was “hugely frustrating”.

“We still don’t know when we’re going to be able to do those services, which is having a huge impact on the freelancers who work for us,” she said.

“We have 250 women, freelance beauticians on our platform across London, Manchester and Birmingham who can’t work and they have been given no date on when they can work.”

She added: “I found it very difficult to understand how a lash treatment when you actually could have a mask on to have that done is different to a beard treatment.”

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Blow Ltd uses 1,000 self-employed beauticians and about a quarter of them can still not work, says Fiona McIntosh

Angela Burnett, the co-founder of Moreton Place Beauty and Wellbeing in London, added: “It’s half of our business, not being able do facials and facial treatment. For example we can’t do any eyebrow waxing, any tinting, any lip waxing. So we’re just doing manicures, pedicures and massages.”

Vanita Parti, founder and chief executive of the Blink Brow Bar walk-in beauty bar chain, which has 11 shops in London and specialises in eyebrow treatments, said her salons would not be able to reopen under the guidelines.

“I’m furious,” she told the BBC last week. “This will kill so many businesses. I wish they’d consulted us.”

Massage studios, tanning salons, physical therapy businesses and piercing services are also now allowed to reopen in England.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Enabling these often small, independent businesses to reopen is yet another step in our plan to kickstart the economy to support jobs and incomes across the country.”

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Martin Rickett/PA Media

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Some nail bars have installed plastic screens to reduce the spread of coronavirus

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Getty Images

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At a salon in Birkenhead, a nail technician wears a PPE face shield and mask

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PA Media

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People – including a woman in Chirton, North Shields – are also returning to sunbeds for the first time in three months

In Scotland, hospitals are reopening to visitors and children and young people are now allowed to play contact sports outdoors.

From Wednesday, Scottish hairdressers and barbers will be able to reopen and indoor pubs, cafes and restaurants can return to business.

In Wales, hospitality businesses can open for outdoor service. Only half of venues are predicted to do so, with major chains, including Wetherspoons and Brains, waiting until customers are allowed indoors from 3 August.

The National Trust is also reopening some of its historic houses, with visitors allowed at seven properties in England and Northern Ireland in a test run of new rules intended to keep the public and staff as safe as possible.

“We’re really grateful to our members and supporters for sticking with us during lockdown,” said Tarnya Cooper from the National Trust, who spoke to BBC’s Breakfast from Petworth House. “This is the first time in 16 weeks we’ve been able to contemplate reopening our houses.”

She said about one million visitors had already pre-booked trips to National Trust’s parks and gardens since they opened in early June.

Face masks under review

Meanwhile, the government’s approach to face coverings in England continues to be discussed, following calls for clarity over the weekend.

Boris Johnson has said people in England “should be wearing” masks or other coverings inside shops to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

He said the government would decide in the next few days if “tools of enforcement” were needed.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said he would “perhaps” support making the wearing of masks in public compulsory but his colleague Michael Gove said on Sunday he thought the matter should be left to people’s “common sense”.

Mr Buckland told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Wearing them in an enclosed space where you’ve got lots of people, for example a busy shop, seems to be sensible.

“It is all about increasing confidence. I think the more of us who do the courteous and responsible thing, the more people you’ll see venture out into shops.”

He added: “If it becomes necessary to nudge people further by taking further action then of course we will consider that. I think the matter is under careful and daily review.”

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Getty Images

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Face masks are mandatory in shops in Scotland but not in England, although some shoppers do wear them

A further 650 coronavirus cases were reported across the UK on Sunday, according to the Department of Health. That is an increase on the 516 cases reported on the same day a week earlier – but hugely down on the peak in April when there were about 5,000 new cases a day.

The total number of people who have died with Covid-19 in the UK is now 44,819, a rise of 21 on the previous day – although figures tend to be lower at weekends because of reporting delays.

Are you having your nails done or getting a tattoo today? Or are you a nail technician or tattoo artist who has reopened? Share your experiences by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist.

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