Hairdressers and beauty salons are set to remain closed until at least mid-February as the Prime Minister has announced a third national lockdown in England with pressures of the pandemic continuing to mount on the NHS. Addressing the nation on Monday 4 January, Boris Johnson highlighted that the number of hospital patients has increased by almost a third to nearly 27,000, nearly a third higher than the peak of the first wave in April.
In a televised address, Mr Johnson said: "It's clear that we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control. In England we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to combat this variant. That means the Government is once again instructing you to stay at home."
The new restrictions mean the temporary closure of non-essential retail and personal care facilities, including hair and beauty salons, will begin immediately and effectively replaces the government's former Covid winter plan which previously upheld a system of local tier restrictions.
What are the hairdressing rules?
Hairdressing salons must now close down, despite having initially been able to operate in a Covid-secure manner in Tiers 1-3 after the second lockdown.
Can mobile hairdressers still work?
With the introduction of a third national lockdown, all hairdressers, even mobile services, must halt business.
What happens if I had an appointment booked during lockdown?
If you had an appointment booked which falls into the lockdown period, it will have been cancelled and rescheduled.
What financial support will hairdressers get?
For businesses that can apply for furlough, the scheme is being extended to next Spring with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant.
Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly. A Hairdressing Sub Committee has been set up as a branch of the British Beauty Council to push for a cut in VAT from 20 percent to 5 percent, as it has done for pubs and restaurants.
In comparison to the first lockdown which hit the beauty industry hard, Millie Kendall MBE, Chief Executive of the British Beauty Council notes, "We at least have a taskforce in place, and direct connection with government as well as constant communications". She adds, "We didn't have that back in March. The Prime Minister's announcement mentions non-essential retail which personal care businesses fall under, and he mentioned an extension of furlough.
"I am not sure this is enough to sustain our businesses. The first task will be to ensure that our Personal Care businesses including salons, retail and mobiles are protected financially from further damage. This will be an ask for grants, and we will push for a longer term recovery plan and chopping the VAT is essential."
Luke Hersheson owns five salons in London, and is urgently calling the government for support. "We seem to get lost as an industry, so we need to ensure we get the VAT reduction, and business rates relief needs to be extended for another year. We all run of very little reserved cash flow, and are due to make tax payments imminently; this all needs to be deferred if we have any hope of bouncing back as an industry."