‘Let us reopen or there could be a revolt’: Hair and beauty bosses turn up the heat over lockdown

Claire Harris, who runs Whispers boutique in Taverham, is calling for compensation for the trade she

Claire Harris, who runs Whispers boutique in Taverham, is calling for compensation for the trade she's lost to bigger stores in lockdown. Pic: Whispers - Credit: Archant

Bosses of hair and beauty salons are uniting across Norfolk over fears some may start operating “under the radar”.

Deb Dominic, who runs Hairsmiths hair salon, Timber Hill, Norwich. Pic: supplied

Deb Dominic, who runs Hairsmiths hair salon, Timber Hill, Norwich. Pic: supplied - Credit: Archant

Independent business owners fear lockdown may be prolonged – further damaging their firms – but they claim their industry has been responsible for less than 0.05pc of Covid infections nationwide.

And they are warning the result could be some businesses “revolt” against the rules and start working outside salons meaning potentially they – and customers – aren’t covered by industry regulations and insurance if anything goes wrong.

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Many are also campaigning for a VAT reduction equal to the hospitality sector saying it is unfair they still have rent and bills to pay with no income.

Missy's in Norwich is supporting the campaign for hair and beauty salons to reopen. Pic: EDP

Missy's in Norwich is supporting the campaign for hair and beauty salons to reopen. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

Meanwhile other independent retailers are adding to the weight already of firms calling for compensation from the government for losing trade when other larger rivals are allowed to open.


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One owner of a boutique in Taverham said: “I know it’s too late to change the rules, however I strongly believe there should be some compensation available for loss of business for small independents forced to close. Surely we all deserve the right to sell the same goods? We are big time being penalised through no fault of our own.”

For owners of hair salons and beauty parlours, many are reluctant to start rebooking customers from December 3 because they fear the lockdown may get extended. The National Hair and Beauty Federation, the industry’s governing body, has sent a letter to Downing Street urging for a U-turn.

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Deb Dominic, owner of Norwich’s Hairsmiths, is leading a consortium of other salons – including Barry Alan hair salon, Stone Hairdressing, Glambox beauty and lashes, Zany hair salon, The Gallery and Missys Hair – who are calling for changes.

Adrian Dunham, of the Gallery haircutters in Norwich is supporting the campaign for hair and beauty

Adrian Dunham, of the Gallery haircutters in Norwich is supporting the campaign for hair and beauty salons to reopen. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

She said: “We’ve noticed salons are busy contacting all their clients to get them booked back in salon. We haven’t started the process yet as this is a ‘proposed’ date of return not fully confirmed.

“To rearrange the lockdown backlog is no small task, to have to then rearrange it when reopening dates are pushed back is a mammoth task, one which will put pressure on staff and clients’ levels of frustration and mental health.

“If return dates/goal posts keep being moved and businesses keep feeling frustrated, the feeling will manifest in negativity and in some cases, revolt. The last thing we want is, through frustration and lack of support, stylists or businesses taking matters into their own hands and working under the radar. The minute you start that you are no longer in a regulated, safe, salon.

“My personal team have been amazing at remaining positive and supporting each other throughout this, but everyone reaches a limit at some point.”

Customers queuing to go into M&S' main entrance recently. Independent businesses say it's unfair the

Customers queuing to go into M&S' main entrance recently. Independent businesses say it's unfair the larger shops can open up when they have to close. Pic: Nova Silver - Credit: Archant

Claire Harris, owner of Whispers Boutique, based behind Taverham Garden Centre, is one of the other independent retailers fighting for compensation.

She said: “We feel really strongly and so disappointed about the government’s decision to continue to allow large chains and garden centres to open throughout what is supposed to be called a lockdown. This lockdown is nothing like the first one; roads are packed and people are just finding shops and takeaways that are open to flock to just to get out of the house, it’s an absolute joke. Supermarkets are not even operating safely how they did previously – no queues, no one way systems in place, people are everywhere just like normal.

“Supermarkets are not fenced off at all and again you can buy clothing, gifts and accessories without any problem at all. I know it’s too late to change the rules, however I strongly believe there should be some compensation available for loss of business for small independents forced to close.

“We get no income allowance and a tiny amount of £1,334 which barely covers anything. November is the busiest trading month of the year and all the government is doing is giving all opportunities to large chains, supermarkets and garden centres. Surely we all deserve the right to sell the same goods? We are big time being penalised through no fault of our own and in actual fact most small businesses like ourselves provide a much safer shopping experience than what’s happening out there.”

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