This week we launched our Back in Business campaign to support local firms fighting for survival after lockdown. KIT VICKERY spoke to hairdressers eager to get customers back in their chairs.

FOR three months the British public have been cooped up, turning to kitchen scissors or freshly-bought clippers to keep their hair in check.

Now hairdressers across the country are getting ready to welcome customers for much-needed fixes and trims after getting the green light to open on July 4.

Things could look a little different during your first snip after lockdown, with a variety of measures needed to ensure the safety of staff and clients.

Craig Henderson, who runs Craig's Barber Shop on Tonge Moor Road, said: "It might be a bit daunting at first, especially for kids, but I'll be wearing a mask and a shield and customers will have to wear their own mask too.

"If they don't have their own I can provide one but there will be a surcharge for it.

"I'm a little concerned about some of my older customers, they're so used to it being a walk-in barbers but it has to be appointment only for now.

"There won't be any waiting inside allowed, people will have to wash their hands when they come in, and there's no beard trims or wet shaves for the time being, it's going to be quite different but I'm just trying to keep everybody safe."

The shop will have to be disinfected in-between customers, and anyone more than five minutes late for their appointment will be counted as a cancellation due to the demand and time needed to prepare between clients.

Craig's shop has seen appointments book up fast, with only two days in July left available.

Elsewhere, at Total Fitness gym, Sophia Patel and Noggi Patel are preparing to welcome customers to their new premises.

Formerly based on Bank Street, Noggi's Hairdressing was set to open at their new space at the start of April, before lockdown forced them into the shadows for three months, but now the duo are ready and raring to go.

Noggi said: "I'm absolutely itching to go, we've been bombarded with people getting in touch.

"As soon as the announcement was made the other day we were inundated with messages, poor Sophie was up till 11 o'clock on Wednesday night answering calls.

"This time we've had off is the longest time I've ever had off since I was 15, I've never been away from it this long.

"I was feeling pretty nervous at first, reopening in a new location, but I'm so confident now."

Only one client will be seen at a time at the site for now, with the salon only open Monday to Friday from 9-5pm due to its location within the gym.

Sophia added: "We're looking forward to seeing our clients, all the PPE is ready, all our risk assessments are in, it's exciting.

"We've put a lot of work in, the place was basically a shell when we got it, but it's all fitted out now.

"It'll be quite a struggle at first, I'm not saying it'll be easy, but it's very exciting."