A NORTH-East-based tanning salon business owner says he is ready to open today after being given the go-ahead to reopen next week.

The Feel Good Group, which is based in Darlington and is the biggest tanning salon business in the UK, will be able to open for the first time in more than three months on Monday.

Owner Adam Mooney, who last week threatened the Government with a legal challenge over its decision not to allow his businesses to reopen at the same time as pubs and hairdressers, said: "While we welcome the decision to finally allow us to reopen, the government could have allowed us to open last week, when hairdressers re-opened.

"We are ready to reopen today, not next week.”

The Feel Good Group is behind the Tanning Shop brand, which has more than 90 salons and employs 400 people around the country.

The tanning sector employs more than 25,000 people in the UK.

Mr Mooney added: “More than 90 percent of our staff are women, and most in the 18-25 year-old age group, which is the demographic which has been worst hit, financially, by the pandemic, and they are very keen to get back to work.”

The group believes its staff and customers have been unreasonably penalised by the government’s refusal to allow them to reopen, since it is a non-contact business.

Mr Mooney said: “However, we have worked hard to ensure that our shops are fully compliant with the Covid regulations and our staff and customers will be completely safe at all times.”

He added: “Given the dismal weather we’ve had over the last week, perhaps our tanning salons will be the suntan saviour of staycationing Brits this summer.”

Last week, the Darlington-based group said it was prepared to take the government to court if there was not urgent clarity from the government on when its businesses would be allowed to reopen.

All Tanning Shops have been closed since March 23 in accordance with government guidelines.

The company has developed a number of protocols in preparation for getting back to work, which Mr Mooney had sent to the Government to prove his business was ready to open.

Beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas are all allowed to open on Monday but are prevented from doing work directly in front of the face.

Business Secretary, Alok Sharma said: "We have been clear throughout this crisis that we want as many businesses as possible to reopen, but we must be confident it is safe for them to do so.

"From Monday 13 July thousands more businesses which offer close contact services like nail and beauty salons will be able to welcome customers back in a way that is safe for both workers and the public.

"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."