The whole county of Nottinghamshire will go into Tier 3 lockdown tomorrow, in what will be the most extensive restrictions in any area of England since the second wave of rising infection rates. As well as a ban on shops selling alcohol after 9pm and no socialising with anyone from outside a household bubble, the restrictions are also forcing all beauty services - whether in a salon or in a mobile setting - to close. Hairdressers and barbers are allowed to remain open.
In what has been described by a government source as a 'local decision based on how they think they should be tackling the sharp escalation in numbers across the county', no scientific evidence or track and trace data has been made available to back up why this decision has been made. In all other Tier 3 areas including Liverpool and Manchester, beauty salons and close contact services have been deemed safe and have been allowed to remain open.
Beauty industry groups have called for urgent clarification on this decision, as well as test and trace data that shows closing beauty businesses is a valid response to an increase in infection rates. "Last night's news that saunas, steam rooms, nails and beauty services must close in Nottinghamshire from tomorrow is devastating," says Millie Kendall MBE, chief executive of the British Beauty Council.
"We are an industry that has had little government support since March in terms of sector specific stimulus packages. Government divide up our industry and determine which services are more unsafe than others arbitrarily and we want to know why or how they arrived at this decision."
It is estimated around ten percent of salons have already closed followed the delayed reopening of beauty services over the summer, which Kendall describes as "a decision that crippled many businesses forcing them to close. Last night central Government told us it is local government and local authority say it is based on information they were given by Public Health England. We need clear answers as to what evidence there is and who has taken this decision."
Lindsay Bland, the owner of the Evolve Nail & Beauty Salon in Retford, has had to cancel 100 upcoming appointments. "We're gutted, angry and upset," Bland tells the Telegraph. "I genuinely don't understand why we're having to close; we use PPE, we follow all of the government's guidelines. We just don't understand why beauty treatments have been allowed to continue in other Tier 3 areas, yet for us they have to close."
The decision is also affecting those working in a mobile setting, where it is 'strongly advised' that close contact services should not take place in homes. The bridal make-up artist Ruby Jay has already gone from 40 bridal clients this year to just eight, and has been forced to take a factory job twice a week to pay her bills. She tells the Telegraph, "If I cannot fulfil my remaining six bridal clients with these new restrictions, I will have to pay them refunds of up to £1000. I don't have any money in the bank for this. I'll be doing this in addition to trying to put food on my table.
"Yesterday I ordered a new batch of PPE - we are following all the guidelines , we are not responsible for the spread of Covid and yet our livelihoods are being stripped. My business is failing, and it's totally out of my control," Jay adds. "It is nothing to do with my lack of skill, determination and care."