Tattooists across Hampshire have breathed a sigh of relief as the Government announced they can reopen from Monday.

Along with nail bars, beauticians and gyms, the green light has been given to outdoor swimming pools as well as outdoor arts spaces to open.

Owner of Lost Soul Tattoos in Basingstoke, Ash Paice said: “I’ve been running around jumping on my furniture like a little kid, I’m so happy and excited to get back to work.

“I feel like a kid all excited for Christmas.”

Daily Echo:

Hygiene is paramount. Image courtesy of Lost Soul Tattoos. 

Many studio owners were forced to take out loans to see them through lockdown with fears about how their businesses would survive if the strict rules continued for the sector.

Tori Treasure, co-owner of The Crow and Quill in Southampton explained before today's announcement, that they were “really having to count the pennies and stretch everything a bit further” because all the help could only extend so far.

Tattoo artists across the country had feared for public safety after underground tattooing had been reportedly rife during lockdown.

Speaking before go ahead was given for them to reopen, Mr Paice, said: “We call them scratchers, they come to your house and give you a tattoo on your couch.”

“The problem is that people are bored and you can buy tattoo equipment off Ebay.

“They’re doing it on their friends and family or even charging but they’re giving bad tattoos.”

Unregulated and dangerous, he claimed this type of DIY tattooing had been advertised across Facebook with many ‘scratchers’ charging people for unsafe tattoos.

Mr Paice added: “We’ve had to message people and say look man you’re going to give someone hepatitis C.

“They’re on people’s couches with no protective gear dipping their gun into a jar of Vaseline and cross contaminating.”

Giving the tattoo industry a bad name, “scratchers” are often untrained with little to no understanding of the strict hygiene regulations studios across the country must adhere to.

Tattoo studios are regulated by each local council, who inspect the cleanliness and hygiene of shops as well as tattooing practices.

Ms Treasure said:“We wear gloves, everything is covered in plastic, we already have medical grade disinfectant so that everything is safe and clean.”

Daily Echo:

With studios practicing strict hygiene before the coronavirus outbreak, owners across Hampshire have maintained that their practices will not need to change other than to wear a face mask.

Mr Paice said: “We practice everything already that they’re asking shops to do.

“We’re the closest thing to a hospital out there in terms of hygiene and how seriously we take it.”