Are tattoo shops open?

BRITS desperate for some new body art can now get inked, as tattoo studios have finally reopened.

Tattoo shops had to remain shut for months after Boris Johnson ordered non-essential businesses to close in January due to the Covid crisis.

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However, under his four-step roadmap out of lockdown, tattoo shops were allowed to reopen last week on April 12 along with other non-essential shops.

Piercing studios and other personal care facilities such as hairdressers, spas and gyms have also welcomed customers back.

England is expected to take on step closer to normality on May 17 when lockdown restrictions ease even further.

But this depends on coronavirus cases remaining under control and the vaccine programme staying on track.

You can see the four tests the government needs to pass at each stage of the roadmap before restrictions lift.

What four tests does the gov need to pass before the next stage of restrictions is eased?

1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

Here's what you need to know about tattoo studios reopening, and the rules you need to follow in shops.

Are tattoo studios open?

Yes – tattoo studios reopened on April 12 in England, as well as piercing studios.

Both tattoo and piercing shops fall under personal care facilities, and were listed on the website as businesses that were allowed to reopen last week.

Tattoo studios have also reopened in Wales, but in Scotland, they're closed and could reopen in the last week of April.

There will be strict rules in place to keep artists and customers safe when studios reopen – we explain below.

What rules are in place at tattoo studios?

The rules in place for reopening tattoo and piercing studios haven't changed since last July, when studios were allowed to reopen after the last lockdown.

Studios must follow recommendations set out inĀ government guidelines.

A ten-point plan for keeping artists and customers safe was also submitted by the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union (TPIU).

Government guidelines outline that social distancing measures should be followed.

Clients and staff should arrive and leave the studio at staggered times to avoid overcrowded.

You should also follow one way systems in place in studios – there will usually be stickers on the floor or posters signposting which direction to walk in.

You might find that you won't be able to book in getting a face tattoo, in order to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

When The Sun spoke to the TPIU last year, they pointed out that the government advice doesn't specifically list body parts that artists should avoid tattooing.

It is likely to depend on individual artist and client needs – for example, if the artist can get their tattoo gun to a body part without face-to-face contact.

For body piercers, some facial piercings – including nose, lip and eyebrow – were temporarily unavailable when studios reopened last year.

Your artist should discuss this with you before you session, as again it depends on individual circumstances – but they may ask you to consider getting another body part pierced or deferring your appointment.

Other recommendations include operating on an appointment-only system – meaning it's likely you won't be able to just walk in.

It's also still recommended that artists limit the amount of time they spend with a client, so they might not be able to spend as long on a design as before and you may need to book multiple appointments to get it finished.

You may also be asked to attend your appointment alone, which is something to keep in mind if you get nervous ahead of a tattoo.

The TPIU suggests staff wear masks, face shields, aprons and gloves when tattooing.

Tattoo artists already wear gloves, but the rest of the recommendations would be additional measures.

Customers should also wear masks when sitting for their tattoo appointment.

Finally, the TPIU also last year suggested that there should be no waiting around in reception areas, or magazines to keep you entertained.

You can read other ways your tattoo experience could be different in our guide.

Here's how gyms looked when they reopened with new coronavirus safety rules last year.

We also took a look at how pubs will be different after lockdown.

And here are all the changes that were brought in when spas reopened in 2020.

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