BUSINESSES are making preparations to reopen next weekend as the coronavirus lockdown continues to ease.

Many have been told they can open from July 4 and are now busy putting measures in place to keep customers safe.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that businesses such as hair salons, pubs, hotels and restaurants can reopen next weekend.

The Argus spoke to several Sussex companies about how they are getting ready.

The Argus:

Hairdressers across the county have been desperate to reopen. Hossein Hamdollahi has been busy redecorating his barber shop Cutter and Grinder in Duke Street, Brighton.

He said: “Customers are dying to have a haircut – the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. They can’t wait – and neither can we.”

He is making big changes. There will be no indoor waiting area and there will be a one-in, one-out policy. Barbers will wear face visors and customers will have protective gowns.

Talking will also be kept to a minimum to reduce the chances of airborne droplets transferring the virus.

“We’ll have to keep the chit chat down,” Hossein said.

The Argus:

Customers will also be asked to wash their hair before they go in to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

For the same reason, beard trims are out – Hossein’s customers will be asked to wear masks and he said trims would be too tricky.

He said: “The show has to go on but we want to make sure everyone is comfortable and safe.”

Marcus Candy owns Elegance Hair in Oxford Street, Brighton.

He has also been redecorating his salon and making sure new safety measures are in place for a July 4 opening.

There will be sanitiser stations, masks and gloves for customers, and just two stylists wearing PPE working with two customers at a time.

He said: “We can’t wait to reopen. We’ve been trying to keep strong but it’s been driving me nuts – I’m a real communicator and I like to be with people.”

He half-jokingly hopes when customers return after three months, their hair will be in such a sorry state it will give business a boost.

“I hope they all want highlighting and balayage too,” he said.

But not all businesses have been given the go-ahead. Spas, beauty salons and tattoo parlours must stay shut, along with swimming pools and indoor gyms. Many owners are devastated.

The Argus:

Nail bars have been told it is not yet safe for them to reopen. Gokce Cinar, who owns Daisy’s Nail Company in Preston Street, Brighton, bought protective screens and PPE thinking she would be able to reopen alongside other businesses.

She said: “I don’t think it’s fair hairdressers and barbers get to open – we’re in the same industry. It doesn’t make sense.”

She believes that with screens and safety measures, nail bars can be made safe.

She said: “I’ve bought in all this equipment and now I can’t use it.

“I thought we’d be opening on July 4 and we wanted to get ready to protect ourselves and our clients. Now it might be September before we’re allowed to open.”

She said she had been struggling without work: “I can’t plan.

“I’m just hoping it will change and the Government will think again.”

The Government says it has asked some businesses to stay shut where there is a risk of close proximity between people of different households.

This, it said, is why places such as soft play areas, nightclubs and swimming pools will remain closed.

The Argus:

But Rob Read, of the outdoor Pells Pool in Lewes, was critical of the decision.

“We’re very disappointed with the guidelines,” he said. “We were ready to open safely on July 4.

“I don’t understand why we can’t open at the same time as pubs and restaurants, we’re just as safe.”

He said the period of closure had been challenging – with no income, the company had to dip into its cash reserves to prepare for opening next weekend.

It had outlined plans including controlling numbers, social distancing measures, strict cleaning regimes and safe lifeguarding arrangements.

In a statement, Pells Pool said: “In our view, this means we would be a safer and more well-managed space than some other facilities that are now being allowed to open”.

Pells Pool is the oldest open air freshwater swimming pool in the UK.

Rob fears this will be the first time in 160 years it cannot open for the season.

Some outdoor pools, he said, would not be able to open at all, even if they are allowed later in the summer.

“The season will be too short for them,” he said. “They can’t afford to get ready and pay staff just for a month.”

The Argus:

Louise Ferris, who co-owns the Blackgate Ink tattoo and piercing studio in Lancing said it is “ridiculous” pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen from July 4 but her business cannot.

She said: “We have to be trained in infection control, PPE (personal protective equipment), cross-contamination and strict cleaning before we can even get a licence to open a studio so we are already operating ahead of most other industries.

“We already operate on a one-in, one-out basis, we wear sterile gloves, we do thorough clean-downs between clients, and we wear masks.

“We are ready to open. It makes no sense why we are being put in categories like gyms where there is much less way of keeping to the sterile environment.

“I’m worried about how our industry will ever be able to recover from this.”

Mrs Ferris runs the studio with her partner Chris and the couple have four children. She said the closure of their main source of income has “massively” impacted them.

She added: “Being a smaller business, I haven’t been eligible for the Government grants. They offered out Universal Credit to the self-employed but if I had applied for that I would have lost my working tax credit which has been the only thing keeping my children fed.”

The Government has said it will help businesses reopen safely and “as soon as possible”.