TATTOO studios should be able to reopen from next month if plans to ease lockdown restrictions stay on schedule.
It means Brits who are desperate for some new body art hopefully won’t have too much longer to wait until they can get inked.
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The same applies for piercing studios and other personal care facilities, such as hairdressers, spas and gyms.
The reopening of businesses 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.
When can tattoo studios reopen?
If the roadmap stays on schedule, tattoo studios will be allowed to reopen from April 12 in England. The same goes for piercing studios.
Both tattoo and piercing shops fall under personal care facilities, and have been listed on the Gov.uk website as businesses that can reopen in April.
In Wales, tattoo studios may be able to reopen from April 12 as long as conditions allow, while in Scotland, they 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.
How long tattoo and piercing studios have been closed for depends on where you live.
For example, before the national lockdown was introduced on January 5, businesses in England were operating under the Tier system.
Tattoo and piercing studios could remain open in Tier 1, 2 and 3 areas, but had to close in Tier 4.
What rules will be in place at tattoo studios?
When tattoo and piercing studios reopened in July after the last lockdown, they had to follow recommendations set out in government guidelines.
A ten-point plan for keeping artists and customers safe was also submitted by the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union (TPIU).
We don't know if these rules will be updated ahead of tattoo and piercing studios reopening, but here's what was in place last year.
The recommendations on the Gov.uk website still suggest face-to-face contact should be avoided, which means face tattoos and piercings are likely to be off the cards for now.
When The Sun spoke to the TPIU last year, they pointed out that the government advice doesn't specifically list other body parts that artists should avoid.
Instead, 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 that are still listed on the Gov.uk website 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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