Shropshire beauticians and tattooists rejoice after first day of reopening
It has been a long 16 weeks of lockdown for tattoo studios, nail bars and beauty salons, which were able to reopen their doors to the public for the first time on Monday.
And despite the loss of income meaning some businesses were unable to reopen, such as Adorn tattoo studio in Shrewsbury, others that have withstood the harsh economic climate were excited to continue trading.
Beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services all opened their doors throughout Shropshire, albeit under a new regime.
Tran Chung was among those as she reopened Shifnal Nails yesterday.
The nail salon, based in the shopping centre off Bradford Street, served its first two customers.
"We got everything ready and in place, all the protective gear was in and everything was thankfully done and dusted in time," said Tran.
"Because it was only my first day, we restricted the hours we can do. Other places might have opened for the whole day, but I only saw two ladies.
"It's not a lot to start, but we're slowly getting back to normality now and it's been interesting to see how safe other places have and will be."
Tran said new safety measures mean each appointment takes more time, with her having to walk each customer through the procedures.
She said: "Firstly, we checked their temperatures as soon as they arrive and make sure their hands are washed and sanitised.
"When that's all done, I show them where to go and what to do as they fill out a consent form – we're having to keep certain records for the NHS."
Among other businesses which continued trading was Boss Ink, which has tattoo studios in Telford and Bridgnorth.
Both studios now have hygiene stations where customers can put on masks and gloves before they get their tattoo.
Owner Mike Wilx said he had been inundated with bookings since Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced tattoo parlours could reopen.
He said while it had been frustrating to see hairdressers reopen first, he understood the need to keep safety as a priority.
Tran added that in most cases, she could keep her distance from customers at Shifnal Nails easier than many hairdressers.
She said: "To be fair, I don't think the distance here is as close as a hairdressers, as we're quite a bit away from each other, plus now we're separated by a big protective screen."
With all shops being affected in some way by added safety measures, Tran said she was among the few who was already used to wearing a mask.
"I haven't had any problems with it as I wear a mask all the time to protect from dust coming from nail files," she said.
"I feel more comfortable wearing a mask, and we now have an acrylic shield to protect customers as well.
"I've just been so excited to be back, I haven't stopped thinking about it."
This comes as Boris Johnson urged the public to wear face coverings in all shops and businesses, and said an announcement on whether their use will be compulsory in England will be made in the coming days.
The Prime Minister said that ministers are considering what "tools of enforcement" could be employed as he described the evidence to support their use to slow the spread of coronavirus as "growing".
With Waterstones book stores across Shropshire also having reopened, James Daunt, managing director, said asking customers to wear a mask is a "reasonable measure".
Asked if the wearing of masks could boost shoppers' confidence, he told BBC Radio: "I don't think it is a huge factor, but I also think if it reassures people, then it is a perfectly reasonable measure to take."