The new lockdown rules are inconsistent and will punish some local businesses while severely eroding public faith in government advice.

Stansted’s tattoo and piercing studio on Chapel Hill is among the local businesses that will have to wait for further easing of lockdown measures. Meanwhile, local hairdressers will be opening their doors from 4 July, even though their level of person-to-person contact is just as high and they have a higher volume of customers.

Chapel Hill Studio has grown since it was warmly welcomed to the village last year and has quickly settled into the community. A week before lockdown, it staged a fundraiser for MIND, generating £800 for the mental health charity – just one of the charitable causes it has supported since opening.

On the Chapel Hill Studio Facebook page, Fiona – the familiar friendly face at the desk who is responsible for the piercing side of the business – voiced her devastation at yesterday’s announcement that the shop will not be included in the easing measures and pledged to lobby her MP.

There is no scientific basis to prevent tattooists, nail parlours, massage therapists and other businesses in the health and cosmetic sector from opening, while allowing barbers, hairdressers and chiropractors.

Tattooing and piercing requires very high standards of hygiene due to the nature of the work. A good studio like Chapel Hill Studio will meticulously clean before opening, use new disposable gloves for each customer and ensure everything that comes into contact with customers during is wiped down and sterilised. These procedures are standard to prevent tattoos and piercings from becoming infected.

A tattoo and piercing studio is a cleaner environment than a barber, where such hygiene measures are not usually necessary. The only further measures needed to prevent Covid-19 infection would be to ensure no more than one customer in the shop at any time and the wearing of face masks – requirements that would not be a problem for businesses like Chapel Hill Studio.

Public support for lockdown and self-policing have been crucial to driving down infection rates. The unreasonable and arbitrary decision by the government to discriminate against some businesses and not others in this sector has no basis in science. The discriminatory easing measures also erode public faith in government advice on the Covid-19 pandemic, which will make it far harder to ensure compliance in the future.

Take action!

Write to local MP Kemi Badenoch to call for consistent and scientific lockdown easing measures to support local businesses

Sign the petition to allow the tattoo industry to open in Phase 3