'We seem to keep being let down' Beauty salon owners call for clarity as date given for reopening

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Beauty salon owners are calling for more clarity after the Welsh Government revealed it would be giving the go-ahead for beauty salons and tattoo parlours to reopen at the end of the month.

First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed hairdressers would be allowed to reopen, by appointment only on Monday 13 July. On the day the five-mile rule was lifted in Wales, he announced the Welsh Government would "use what we learn" from the reopening of hair salons to extend opening to other parts of the beauty industry.

He later confirmed on Friday that beauty salons and tattoo parlours will be allowed to reopen on 27 July, if the virus remains under control - but there are worries from some business owners that this may not include all services.

Eyebrow stylist Lissy Thomas, from Cardiff, had booked in more than 100 clients for July and August and said she feels "frustrated" at the lack of clarity.

Lissy Thomas has been self-employed since last year Credit: Lissy Thomas

"I don't see how we are any different from hairdressers. We already keep a record of clients, we never have a "walk in" client and we are prepared to wear full personal protective equipment.

The lack of clarity over what services will be on offer at the end of July is a concern for Lissy

"I became self employed in April 2019 which means I do not qualify for the Government Self Employment Income Scheme.  I also do not qualify for the Small Business Grant Fund, however I have been expected to pay rent and bills for my beauty studio through this pandemic."

"I am going into my fifth month of no income and no support - again it's just another set back", Lissy said.

"We have used PPE across the beauty industry even before COVID. If clients wear facemasks as well, I don't see the issue. If we implement the use of visors now, I don't see why we can't open."

Hair salons reopened in England on 4 July Credit: PA

The beauty industry is worth £2.4 billion to the UK economy, and 1 in 60 jobs is within the beauty sector. 

In Wales, Mr Drakeford reiterated during Friday's press conference that if the virus stays under control, salons will be able to reopen at the end of the month and the Welsh Government would be issuing "detailed guidance" closer to the date.

He told ITV Wales, "There are undoubtedly greater risks in some parts of the beauty industry. We will work over the next two weeks with other settings - nail bars, tattooists, beauty salons to make sure if Welsh citizens are being invited back they can do so with confidence and that means work needs to be done with the sector that people know there is confidence there to return to use those services.

Harley will have to wait for further clarity on what services can be offered before she can reopen

Harley, an eyelash technician who also runs her own business, said the industry hasn't been taken seriously enough.

"It is really unfair. We've seen some people in the House of Commons laughing at our industry and it's really upset us.

"We know how to be clean, clinical and how to look after our clients.

"The pressure is huge when you're running your own business, especially when you're not reaping the benefits. We don't want to spread infection. If Mark Drakeford was to say we could go ahead with guidelines in place that would be such a relief to know we could get back to some sort of normality."

"There are so many treatments offered within the industry that has a huge impact on people’s emotional wellbeing", Lissy added.

"However as much as people need treatments for their wellbeing, this isn’t about individuals not being able to have treatments, it’s about peoples' livelihoods."