In June, it was announced that beauty salons would not be reopening along with hair salons on 4 July — following a four month break in business due to the coronavirus pandemic — leaving thousands of people in England out of work. It was a devastating and unexpected blow to the sector, which was previously placed in the “personal care” category, as well as hair salons, in the government’s Plan to Rebuild. Manicurists, estheticians, massage therapists, cosmetic doctors, beauty therapists, and many more prepared their salons and work environments by updating hygiene measures — despite already being one of the most sanitary customer services businesses — for a July reopening, which never came. No timeline or support was offered by the government.
To add insult to injury, not only did the government choose not to support the industry, it chose to turn it into a laughing matter. During the 1 July PMQs, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson and MP William Wragg were put under pressure to make a U-turn on the decision not to reopen the beauty sector, it became abundantly clear that not only had they never stepped foot into a beauty salon before but they also didn’t care for the reopening of them. Instead, the response in suggestion of a U-turn was met with a disrespectful tone and roars of laughter by backbench MPs.
Additionally, on 3 July, the beauty sector was placed in the same risk category as nightclubs, casinos, and “sexual entertainment venues”, by Public Health England’s new regulations. These regulations will only be reviewed every 28 days. The new legislation sparked both disbelief and huge disappointment.
Aside from supporting your local manicurists and beauty therapists financially and via social media if you can, the British Beauty Council has written a template letter to send to your local MP regarding the reopening of the beauty sector.
The letter opens: “I am urgently seeking your support to ask if you will write to the Prime Minister to ask him to urgently take steps to open up the industry.” It continues by outlining the value of the beauty industry to the UK economy: “The hair and beauty service industry alone contributes over £8bn to the UK economy. It also employs up to 300,000 people, predominately women, across 49,371 businesses.” The letter ends by urging the reconsideration of the reopening of beauty, spa, and wellness services, in addition to providing immediate clarity to those in the sector on when they will be allowed to reopen.