VISOR-CLAD beauticians across the country have welcomed back customers for waxing, nail-painting and massages.

But with face-to-face treatments forbidden, big overheads and many changes to get used to, it has not been easy for salon owners.

For many, reopening on Monday was bittersweet.

They have waited weeks but already fear they will struggle to claw back revenue lost amid the coronavirus lockdown.

At The Lanes Health and Beauty in Market Street, Brighton, two thirds of the services usually on offer are banned.

The Argus:

Owner Julie Coates said: “It’s been pretty tough opening up with only a third of our treatments available, but it’s a start. Our clients are over the moon to be back.

“Business is steady but patchy. In the end, you just have to bite the bullet – you have to let clients know you’re open. It’s important to get back to a new normal.”

Salons have had to make big changes.

Before their appointments at The Lanes Health and Beauty, clients are pre-screened for symptoms over the phone.

They are told to arrive with a face mask and have their temperature checked.

Staff are not allowed to wear their uniforms to work. They are given fresh shoes and clothes at the salon. They have their temperatures checked twice a day.

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“We go a little bit over the top but it also feels very normal,” Julie said.

“We’ve always worked with high standards of cleanliness – it’s not that different except for the face shields.”

Some changes will affect takings – hen parties, for example, are out.

Julie said: “In the past we did hen parties with 15 to 20 girls in at once but we won’t be doing any work like that now. There are three or four therapists with four clients in at a time.

“We’re not packing a lot of people in.”

Julie has owned a salon in The Lanes for 19 years and moved to her current premises in 2006.

The Argus:

“I’ve been here a long time and I’m not ready to give up yet,” she said.

“I’m trying to be positive. It’s the only way to be.

“I can’t offer all my services, but I’m so grateful to be open – even though it feels like I’m doing it with one hand tied behind my back.”

The Argus:

Gokce Cinar, who owns Daisy’s Nail Company in Preston Street, Brighton, was overjoyed to open on Monday.

“It’s so good to be back,” she said.

“Nails are no issue – it’s just the beauty treatments. I’m worried that without that side of the business we’ll struggle.

“Just doing nails wouldn’t be enough for us. We had two empty treatment rooms that weren’t being used at all, before we added another nail bar.

“Obviously it’s not the same as before – there are new rules and all the guidance and PPE – there’s a lot to do but it’s nice to be here.”

The Argus:

Gokce worries that many of the banned treatments are only popular in the summer.

“There is only a short time to do these treatments and we are not even allowed to carry them out,” she said.

“I’m hoping we’ll be able to do beauty soon.

“It’s hard not being able to tell what’s going to happen, but knowing we’d be among the first places to be closed off.”

Despite the difficulties they face, beauty therapists believe they will have to stick at it if they are to stay afloat.

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Salon owner of 23 years Tracy Ejuetami runs Jagwa in Dyke Road.

She said: “Lockdown’s been great for me personally, it’s given me a rest, but financially, it’s a nightmare.

“We’re really going to have to work hard now.”

Many of her clients who work in the airline industry are now out of a job and no longer need beauty treatments.

But Tracy is optimistic and worries for other businesses.

“It’s easier for me – I haven’t got tons of staff,” she said.

“But I’ve still got overheads – I feel sorry for the bigger companies with lots of workers on furlough.

“I want to stick in there – it will pass, but I don’t know how quickly.

“We’ve been through recessions before, you’ve just got to stick at it and do whatever it takes.

“It might not be like it was but we’ve got to try our best.”