The latest reports suggest that post lockdown the hair and beauty sector will be discriminated against again. In the Daily Mail on 19 February: “Britons in need of a haircut will need to wait until at least April because salons are set to stay shut until at least April, according to reports.” It goes on to say the treatments that earn the income – ‘such as waxing and pedicures – where ‘contact is inherent’ – will have to wait longer.’ This is in stark contrast to Wales where salons will open alongside other non-essential shops.
I wrote about this on 30 December 2020 about how at the end of the last lockdown the hair and beauty sector was the last of the non-essential shops to be permitted to open in full. Here we are again with the end of the third lockdown facing the same predicament of the sector being sent to the back of the queue.
The Government science has a problem with the close contact involved in the work of the beauty sector while ignoring the reality that the sector has had high standards of hygiene and care built in as part of its reputation for quality. After the end of the last lockdown it responded professionally by absorbing the cost of PPE and limited footfall. Now it is being financially damaged again. That financial damage hits women, who work in high numbers in the sector, disproportionately harder.
It is time the government took a holistic view of the hair and beauty sector: its hygiene standards, its social need and its value to the economy including its high employment of women, and gave the sector at least the same parity as all other non-essential shops.