FACE tattoos and face piercings will likely be off the cards when studios reopen next week with new coronavirus safety rules in place.
Tattoo and piercing shops in England have been given the green light to welcome back customers from this Monday, July 13.
The announcement was made on Thursday, July 9, as part of a coronavirus Downing Street briefing by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.
Mr Dowden also announced that nail bars, beauty salons and massage parlours can reopen on July 13.
But getting inked or pierced will be different when studios reopen, with no walk-ins and customers being asked to attend appointments alone.
These are the recommendations set out in government guidelines, as well as a ten-point plan submitted by the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union.
Advice may change if the government issues updated guidance over the weekend.
Tattoo studios opened on July 6 in Northern Ireland, while reopening dates for Scotland and Wales have yet to be announced.
Tattoo artists and body piercers already wear gloves when they work with clients, while their working area and tools are also sanitised between appointments as standard practice.
Tattoo artists and piercers are being told to avoid “face-to-face” working with clients where possible.
Instead, they should limit their appointments to “back-to-back or side-to-side” working only.
Similar action is also being taken at beauty salons, where you won’t be able to get a facial.
For tattoo artists, this will likely mean face tattoos won’t be allowed.
When The Sun spoke to the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union, they said the government advice doesn’t specifically list other body parts that artists should avoid – however, it’s likely to depend on individual artist and client needs.
For example, it’ll depend on if the artist can get their tattoo gun to a body part without face-to-face contact, or if the client can rest their body in a certain position for a length of time without facing the tattooist.
For body piercers, facial piercings – including nose, lip and eyebrow – are likely to be out of bounds.
This means they’ll likely be limited to other areas of the body – such as belly buttons, genital piercings or other surface piercings.
The Tattoo and Piercing Industry suggests customers book a consultation first to discuss changing the location of their tattoo or piercing, or even pushing their appointment back to a later date.
Government guidance also recommends that tattoo and piercing studios operate on an appointment-only basis when they reopen – so you won’t be able to just walk-in.
Many tattoo studios have “flash” designs readily available to give walk-in customers inspiration.
But under new guidance, you’ll need to know exactly what design you’re getting and be booked in before you turn up.
Some tattoo and piercing studios are likely to already have long waiting lists, so get in contact with your regular artist to see what they have available.
Some larger tattoos can take hours to complete, which means it can be lengthy process – especially if you take into account healing time between sittings.
But under new government guidance, tattoo artists are being asked to “minimise the duration of contact with the client”.
This means you may find your tattoo artist is working under reduced hours and can’t spend as long on your design as before.
The Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union is suggesting 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.
You shouldn’t be surprised if your tattoo artist asks you to also wear a mask, especially for long sittings.
Some businesses have installed plastic screens to separate customers and staff, but this isn’t likely to work with tattoo artists and piercers as they need to move to reach body parts.
Like pubs and restaurants, tattoo artists and body piercers will also be asked to keep customer details for 21 days, in the event of another outbreak.
This is according to government guidance to help NHS Test and Trace – although it isn’t required by law.
Tattoo and piercing studios will likely take your details when you book an appointment.
The Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union recommends both workers and customers sign a form to say they haven’t been in contact with anyone infected with coronavirus over the last 15 days.
This form must be signed and dated and include full name, address, and phone number, to help NHS Track and Trace.
Getting a tattoo or piercing can be a nervous experience for some people, so it’s understandable that you’d want to bring someone along with you.
But under government guidelines, tattoo artists and piercers may ask you to attend you appointment alone.
This is to avoid less people gathering in one area.
Similar capacity measures are already in place for supermarkets, where only limited numbers of people are allowed inside at one time.
There will be no waiting around, or magazines to keep you entertained in reception areas, under suggestions by The Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union.
Some studios may even get rid of their waiting areas altogether.
Spas have also said they won’t have magazines in their waiting areas – plus they’re also getting rid of food and drink.
You’ll also likely find hand sanitiser stations when you enter a tattoo or piercing studio – just like in pubs and restaurants.
This is to help keep customers and staff safe, as well as stopping the spread of germs.
The Sun has also taken a look at how spas will look when they reopen on July 13 – including no facials or magazines in waiting rooms.
Meanwhile, here are all the changes you’ll find when you next visit the cinema, including fewer seats and no pick and mix.
We’ve also been behind the scenes to see what gyms will look like when they reopen.