A SMALL business owner has spoken of her delight at being able to offer her full range of services once again, as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased across East Lancashire.

Since lockdown was lifted in parts of Blackburn with Darwen, Talia Boardman has fought to get her salon, based on King William Street, back on its feet.

However a spike in cases across the borough led to Blackburn becoming a Covid-19 hotspot, forcing the authorities to once again place restrictions on businesses such as salons, leisure centres and bowling alleys.

But now small business owners are looking forward to welcoming customers back once again, after council bosses announced they may operate as usual ­— with certain measures in place ­— from tomorrow.

Among those is Ms Boardman, who will be able to roll out her full range of services, after weeks of only being able to carry out specific treatments not classed as close contact.

She said: “More than anything, it's just a massive relief. I wasn’t expecting them to relax the measures on Friday, but hopefully it is an indication that they have been listening to small business owners and realising we are safe and taking the situation very seriously.

“It’s good to know now that we can welcome clients back through our doors before we run the risk of losing them, the same can be said for gyms and other small businesses. I know other places that have had no choice but to close down and we’re so lucky we haven’t had to do that, but we now need a really busy period up to Christmas to help get us going again.”

And while many places have been forced to take drastic measures to save their businesses, Ms Boardman has recently found out she can expand by taking over the two floors directly above her salon to grow her services and to create a training academy.

She said: “I’ve been waiting to hear about the expansion for ages, and we got the go-ahead just two days before we found out we could start operating fully again, so now its full-on. We’re all just so excited to get back to work and to take on this challenge.”

The business owner, who has been operating Talia’s Beauty Studio for 18 months, also assured customers all her staff are taking preventative measures very seriously, with designated cleaning slots between clients and extended sanitising taking place.

Leisure centres, indoor gyms, casinos, ice skating rinks and bowling alleys will also be permitted to start operating again from Tuesday, after a bumpy few months for small businesses.

A council spokesman said: “On the back of the Government announcement on Friday, the council is delighted to confirm a range of other businesses that will be able to reopen across the borough from Tuesday, September 8.

“Having pressed Government for clarification we have been advised that the business restrictions eased nationally on August 15 will also now apply across the whole borough – including the eight areas designated as a protection zone.

“This means that, as we have been consistently asking, remaining businesses including close contact beauty treatments can reopen but should follow all relevant covid-secure guidelines.

“Other businesses that will be able to reopen from September 8 include soft play areas, skating rinks and bowling alleys.”

Social restrictions remain in place in the protection zone and everyone should continue to follow basic coronavirus guidance on hand washing, social distancing, face coverings and indoor and outdoor gatherings.