The Northern Ireland Executive last night announced an extension to the circuit break lockdown. Close contact services including hair and beauty salons, barbering and mobile businesses will stay closed until they can reopen by appointment on Friday 20 November.
The NHBF is now pressing the Northern Ireland Government for urgent clarification on what financial support will be available to our sector and how this will be made available for those who most need it.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF says, “The NHBF is extremely disappointed with this last-minute decision and the further impact this will have on the industry. I’m not sure any government understands the fact that it isn’t just a case of hair and beauty salons and barbershops simply opening doors on a new date. They fail to grasp that these businesses will now have the mammoth task of re-allocating appointments for those clients booked in for the days of the extended circuit break lockdown period. We’re now looking at a re-opening at what is normally the busiest time of year, so there will be a huge knock-on effect on those booked in for the days and weeks that follow. All this will put a massive strain on salon owners and those who work in the industry as they try to accommodate everyone and re-coup the money they have lost during this pandemic year.”
The NHBF has continued to lobby the UK government and those in the devolved nations to demonstrate that the reopening of close contact services such as those within hair and beauty has not contributed to the current rise in Coronavirus cases.
The NI Executive’s published a paper saying the closure of close contact businesses like hair and beauty salons will have a low impact on transmission with a potential reduction of the R number of 0.05.* And in a recent NHBF poll, an overwhelming 96% of salons and barbershops in Northern Ireland had not been contacted via Test, Trace and Protect (4,107), with only 186 (4%) responding ‘Yes’.
The hair and beauty sector has a significant role to play in maintaining the overall health and wellbeing of the public. With it highly likely that the country will be living with Coronavirus for some time, it is absolutely essential that services such as ours remain operational to support the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of the general public through this crisis.