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Coronavirus: ‘Confused picture’ as some salons unable to open

Sarah Bruton

Image caption

Sarah Bruton has invested in a temperature check gun and plastic screens to keep customers safe

Plans to reopen hairdressers without the wider beauty industry in Wales have been described as “ridiculous” by some in the business.

The Welsh Government intends to allow hairdressers to restart a “very limited range” of services from 13 July.

But no date has been set for when others, like beauty salons, can reopen.

“The picture is going to be really confused for so many people,” said Sarah Bruton, from Captiva Spa in Caerphilly.

“Our business is 50% a hair salon and 50% a beauty salon.

“We are in the situation now where we’ll be bringing back half of our staff and telling them that it’s safe to work and telling the other half, who are equally qualified and experienced, that they are not safe to operate.

“That seems incredibly unfair to me.”

She added: “We find ourselves in the ridiculous situation where a barber is permitted to carry out services like brow shapes, like moustache trims, like hot towel shaves, for example, but a beautician can’t carry out a brow shape, a lip wax, a facial.

“There is surely no medical or virological reason to make that distinction.”

The Welsh Government said it would be publishing more industry guidance later this week.

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Media captionPlans to reopen hair salons without the wider beauty industry in Wales are described as “ridiculous”

Hair and beauty salons in Wales generate an estimated annual turnover of £275m, according to the National Hair and Beauty Federation.

Ms Bruton said she was concerned plans for different reopening dates could unfairly impact the beauty sector.

“As an industry, 15,000 people are involved in the hair and beauty sector in Wales and many of those jobs are being put at risk by those kinds of delays,” she said.

“We train apprentices, we take on graduates from college and higher education facilities, none of those students will have any workplace to go into at the end of this.

“It looks from the outside like businesses that favour male aspects such as pubs, such as football, such as barbers are allowed to operate but women’s experiences are not given the same kind of priority and that’s incredibly unfair.”

The National Hair and Beauty Federation, which represents both industries, said it had written to the Welsh Government asking it “reconsider delaying the reopening of beauty businesses”.

It said it was also seeking “urgent clarification” on whether mobile hair services would be allowed to restart next week.

BBC Wales News found dozens of nail and beauty salons offering appointments from 13 July, having previously believed they were allowed to open alongside hairdressers.

Lyn Hancock, who runs Lynz Nails and Beauty in Torfaen, said she “cried” when she realised that was not going to be the case.

“We are not any more of a risk to people’s health than a hairdresser,” she said.

“I have full PPE ready for opening; masks, visors, gloves, aprons, disposable tools and nail files, disposable couch covers, hospital grade sanitiser and cleaning products, the works.

“I have already seen businesses closing permanently in both my industries due to Covid-19. I do not want to be simply another statistic.

“My salon is my safe space, my calm and I was so looking forward to opening it.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Subject to an assessment of the latest health situation in Wales on 9 July, hairdressers and barbers will be permitted to reopen from the 13 July.

“This would be strictly on an appointment only basis, and only for a very limited range of services.

“Their reopening would be a first step to easing the lockdown of close contact services in Wales, with a view of reopening other similar services soon.”

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