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Anger from beauty industry as re-opening of close contact services postponed

Lauretta Roberts
31 July 2020

The beauty industry has responded with anger as the Government announced that close contact services would not be able to resume from tomorrow as previously announced, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pressed the brakes on re-opening the economy further today after cases of the virus were found to be on the rise across the north of England.

At a hastily arranged press conference today Johnson said he was pausing the reopening of leisure businesses, such as casinos and bowling alleys, and preventing beauty salons resuming close-up treatments, for at least two weeks. This left businesses with less than 24 hours' notice of the move.

The beauty industry had already spoken out after barbers were allowed to carry out close contact services on men, such as beard trims, but services involving close contact with women's faces, such as eyebrow threading and injectibles were not allowed.

It has also been argued that lockdown easing prioritised businesses run by men and aimed at men while businesses run by women and aimed at women were left at the back of the queue for re-opening.

Speaking at the press conference Johnson said: "On Saturday 1st August, you’ll remember, we had hoped to reopen in England a number of higher risk settings that had remained closed. Today, I am afraid we are postponing these changes for at least a fortnight.

"That means that, until 15th August at the earliest close contact services must remain closed."

The move came after a rise in cases in the Greater Manchester area, which followed an earlier spike in Leicester. As a result some 4m people in the north of England are now placed back under further restrictions and cannot meet people outside of their family group at leisure facilities and cannot visit other households.

Mobile beauty practitioners are still permitted to visit households, even in Greater Manchester and Leicester, to carry out non-restricted services, such as body treatments, manicures and hairdressing.

Many beauty practitioners responded with exasperation at the news and argued that beauty salons are safer spaces than crowded pubs and restaurants.

Millie Kendall, CEO of the British Beauty Council, said in an Instagram post: "So we can’t go and have our eyebrows threaded or have a relaxing facial. So I guess that leaves us no option but to head to the pub tomorrow."

The post attracted comments from many salons and practitioners, venting their frustration at the apparent lack of logic in the move. Prominent make-up artists Kay Montano commented: "Oh it’s such a joke love. I’ve been on 2 planes, done 4 spinning classes, been to the gym, restaurants and pubs... makes no sense other than keeping businesses deemed (by those cavemen with posh accents in suits) as economically necessary. Definite a gender ‘perspective’, or blindness actually."

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