Those working in the beauty industry who perform "close-contact services" still aren't permitted to work in England. On 17 July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the beauty industry would be allowed back to work as of 1 Aug., but there was a caveat: no close-contact services are allowed. What the government failed to realise is that this left a large chunk of beauty services and businesses still out of work.
Weeks earlier, after campaigning, petition signing, and organising a peaceful protest (which subsequently didn't go ahead due to the good news), these services were finally given the green light. However, with less than 24 hours notice, Johnson U-turned on that decision, and close-contact services were not permitted to resume on 1 Aug. in England. With this announcement came zero financial support for those businesses and individuals who have been unable to work for a total of five months now.
To add insult to injury, barbers are still allowed to offer beard trims, and there has been widespread outrage on social media with some barbers offering waxing, eyebrow trims, and and even facials to male clients - services the government apparently deems "high risk" when it comes to salons primarily catering to women. Some have even been pictured providing what, in our opinion, are close-contact services while not wearing any PPE at all.
To put this lack of financial help for the beauty sector into context, as pointed out by The Telegraph's Beauty Director Sonia Haria: The music industry contributes £5.2 billion to the UK economy and, thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund, has been given over £750 million in grants and loans in support. The beauty industry, on the other hand, contributes £28 billion to the UK economy every year but has received zero financial support. While it's absolutely great news that the music industry has been given funding, it does leave the question: why is the beauty industry, which is so integral to the UK economy, being so egregiously left out?
Additionally, with close-contact services in beauty salons now being resumed in Scotland, there's no season for the UK government not to follow suit in England, especially with hospitality fully back up and running - beauty salons are a lot cleaner than pubs, that's for sure.
If you're one of the lucky ones still working and relatively unaffected financially by the coronavirus pandemic and want to help our beloved beauty industry, ahead are just some of the ways you can support individuals and businesses.
Donate to Beauty Backed
Set up by beauty expert Caroline Hirons, Beauty Backed aims to provide financial aid to support businesses and individuals who are unable to keep up with their bills and expenses due to a lack of income. To help, you can donate what you can on the Beauty Backed GoFundMe page. One-hundred percent of donations will be distributed through the Hair and Beauty Charity to individuals and businesses who apply. The support will help the beauty sector stay afloat whilst the restrictions are still in place.
During the coronavirus pandemic, between April and June, the charity has seen a shocking 78 percent increase in request for help. "The stats speak for themselves; this time last year we were helping 94 beneficiaries but we're now helping 167 beneficiaries, which is a huge increase for a small charity, especially as fundraising is very hard to do during the crisis," the charity's President Samantha Grocutt said.
If you're a beauty professional looking for support, you can apply here.
Prepay For Treatments
Consider asking your beauty therapist if prepaying for appointments and treatments can help out with any immediate expenses they might be facing.
Ask Them How They're Doing
For those dedicated to their treatments, you spend hours with your beauty therapist, and they likely value your relationship as much as you do theirs. Send your facialist, eyebrow person, or threading specialist a message to ask how they are and if there's anything you can do to help them.
Write to Your Local MP
Writing to your local MP won't necessarily bring immediate relief or change, but it will push the government to get off its backside and do something to help the industry. This template is a great place to start, and if you're not sure who your local MP is, you can find out here.
Sign a Petition
Again, signing the Beauty Backed petition isn't going to bring anyone money and help pay the bills, but in the longterm, it will help push the government to reconsider its decision to postpone close-contact services reopening, as well as recognise the industry as a serious and economically valuable one to the UK.
Help to Lobby For a Beauty Equivalent of Eat Out to Help Out
Eat Out to Help Out was created to support the hospitality industry and encourage the public to spend their money at local restaurants again. Industry professionals are now campaigning for a similar voucher scheme to be brought out in England to support the beauty industry and get it back on its feet.