We as a centre are having to follow the guidelines for our industry and we are governed by the guidelines just for England. Mores the pity if we were based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland we could now fully open and resume all services including the face (with correct PPE).
We have had a series of delays from the government with the promises of opening back up our industry.
First we were promised 4th July along with hairdressers and barbers, but then we were dealt a blow that this could not happen instead pubs and hairdressers were deemed to be safer. We can see from this week’s news and very recent localised lockdowns that pubs are the main venue where the virus has been tracked and spread from. Not Salons!
This was a truly bitter blow for us and all in the Beauty Industry.
We campaigned relentlessly, wrote to our MPs, formed a Facebook group to be the industry voice and got many MPs onside.
We were seen on TV along with many other therapists campaigning for our reopening.
We watched live parliamentary broadcasts with dismay seeing some of our MPs who were meant to be battling for us and representing us actually appear to laugh and mock our industry rather than put across a factual case for us.
This was absolutely soul destroying for so many of us.
Eventually we got a breakthrough, a new date was announced for the 15th July to open. We were jubilant, at last we had done it, but what? Hold on there! No facial treatments to be carried out?? Can’t be right!?
Yes it’s true we could only work from the neck down. So then Barbers won’t be doing beard trims or Brow tidys either? Oh right they can! We were so confused, how can this be?
Then we had to start campaigning again and put even more pressure on to prove we were Covid secure. We had all done our risk assessments, compliance forms, purchased additional PPE and were fully trained in how to use this and had completed extremely thorough infection control plans. We could see hair salons and barbers not using the mandatory PPE yet were still open. More chaos and confusion for our Industry. The constant changes, disappointments and conflicting sources of information exhausted us and many therapists were seriously anxious and becoming depressed by now.
Then we got a new date for facial work to commence, relieved to be able to open properly and with students waiting since March to compete their courses we merrily re timetabled and rebooked everyone in.
Salons opened their books back up to clients for facial treatments. We were back in business yay
Nope, with less than 24 hours notice we were told no, actually we are now at our limit of what we can open back up so no to the Beauty Industry again!
To say we were devastated is an understatement. Students were contacting us continually asking “is this right?” “How can this be?”
Many specialise in facials and skin care or semi permanent makeup and still have not been able to open.
For us it was back to re timetabling everyone again. Students waiting since March have to take priority over any new intake so every single course gets bumped back. Every single course that involves the face is rescheduled.
Salons cancelled every single one of their clients that were booked for any treatment that would involve the face zone.
By now our whole industry is facing complete financial crisis. No new help on the horizon and a vague date of we may open on the 15th
August feels like a brush off.
The government’s scientific advisor Chris Witty has said we are at our limit of what we can re open. I fear though they have picked the wrong sectors to open back up. On top of pubs being the super spreaders in some local areas, the government themselves are encouraging us all to crowd into these places in their Eat Out To Help out initiative. Not a healthy initiative if they are also asking us all to lose weight.
So we wait, no light at the end of the tunnel for us and our fellow business owners trying to earn an honest living. No new grants, furlough being eased out leaving many salons unable to keep staff on. No lovely government backed scheme of 50% off up to the value of £10 voucher for a health giving massage or any form of incentive to get our clients back in salons. No encouragement to our clients we are safe after all.
Yet we are safer than many many other venues. Beard trimming IS NOT a safer option and is less critical than a chin wax for a women suffering excess hair growth due to a hormonal (medical) condition.
So where does that leave us all?
In limbo, in a bad mental health state, in despair and for some in our industry closure and possible bankruptcy.
We are back to campaigning for equal rights, new letters to our MP and re scheduling timetables.
It means too that those of you booked for September onwards on other courses may unfortunately see your timetables change even if we are allowed to fully reopen. We have to prioritise those that have been waiting the longest and were booked on courses before lockdown in March and need to complete their qualifications.
We know we are safer than pubs, cafes and have a higher level of infection control training than so many barbers we see working without the mandatory full face visors.
This is no reflection on our industry or the many UK trained therapists that hold nationally recognised qualifications. This is only a reflection of the poor decision making and shambolic handling of this pandemic by our government.
Once we get back up and running fully watch this space. We will forcefully and rigorously campaign to see regulation and licensing for our industry. Many London boroughs already have brought this in and we will make sure all those highly professional therapists are acknowledged.
In the meantime Boris, send us the risk assessments your scientific advisors have done that indicate a beard trim is safe and eyebrow wax isn’t. Let us see the scientific evidence please. It is our legal right to have this evidence made public.
As soon as we have updated and factual guidelines we will then update you all again.
Lets hope this all ends soon and we can move on and rebuild our huge and successful Beauty Therapy Industry.