BEAUTICIANS and tattooists in the North-East have welcomed the unlocking of their trade as beauty, nail and tattoo parlours were given the green light to reopen yesterday.

The beauty sector is the latest group of businesses allowed to reopen, on July 13, including spas and physical therapy businesses, tattoo and massage studios, piercing services and tanning salons – both fixed and freelance workers.

Customers should expect appointment-only systems, PPE, increased surface cleaning and hand washing enforced, as well as giving their details for track and trace.

Dave Nicholls, who owns The Mad Tatter Tattoo studio in Darlington and is reopening his doors today, a day late, said: "I have a few clients in this week to get back into the swing of things and have spent the last couple of months getting the studio ready following the guidelines.

"There is not much difference for me now anyway as I only have one client in at a time and there is only one artist, myself, Dave, and we are appointment only.

"I have always been busy before this usually a four month waiting list however it has gone crazy since the announcement and I am now fully booked up until mid January, so am really pleased.

"I have the best clients and cant wait to get back to see them all."

Mr Nicholls and his wife Karen, who helps run the business, are asking customers to come alone and to be on time – not early. Customers will also be given a mask when they arrive.

Also asking customers to be punctual and not entire the shop until invited is Darlington-based House of Horrors tattoo studio.

The shop's team of three artists mean there will be a greater number of people in and out, but start times have been staggered to offset this. Temperature checks will also be in place.

Studio manager Steven Leach, said: "We are obviously excited to get back to work, particularly because we are opening another studio across the road so want to get that open as soon as possible.

"The fact we're expanding right now when other businesses aren't is really testament to our skilled artists."

When asked about new procedures, Mr Leach was confident about reopening due to an already high level of hygiene.

He added: "We maintain a y safe and sterile environment anyway so we are well equipped and rehearsed in what we need to be doing.

"It's the right time as long as the right precautions have been put in place."

Mr Leach says the studio still has availability despite and is keen to ensure "everyone that wants to be tattooed can be".

For beauticians, however, it is not as simple as introducing PPE and additional cleaning, as many services are still prohibited.

Becky Voss, who owns Becky's Beauty Box in Darlington, says 75 per cent of her work comes from facial treatments that are still not allowed, such as eyebrow treatments and eyelash extensions.

She said: "I didn't even watch the announcement because I didn't expect any news but a parent text me and asked if I was excited.

"I was over the moon when I found out I could go back to work, and then absolutely gutted half an hour later when the guidance came out to see I couldn't do most of my treatments."

The mum has to weigh up whether it was worth reopening but thought she may lose business if not.

She added: "I'm excited to get back though and regulars have been keen to get booked in.

"I have got visors, masks and all PPE to ensure the safety of my clients. I'm opening on Wednesday and will be revising my opening hours until I can offer all treatments."

Tyne and Wear based Gemma Jewitt, who has a mobile hair and nails company, has been taking appointments since getting the go-ahead.

She said: "My clients have had no hesitation.

"It is mostly regulars but I have got a couple of new clients. I'm really looking forward to going back and doing what I love to do.

"I am concerned about going to other people's houses, but before every appointment I'm contacting the client to make sure they haven't had any symptoms and to make sure there will be no one else present and the place where I'll be doing there nails has been sanitised properly."

Adhering to social distancing, people may also find screens and barriers in place between customers and staff in many premises, as well as more disposable equipment, and skin to skin contact will be avoided where possible.

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."