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Alok Sharma MP
Secretary of State for Business
Energy & Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria Street
26 June 2020
I am writing to you as Director of the Beauty Guild, the UK’s largest trade body representing over 16,000 beauty, hair, nail and holistic professionals.
As the UK trade body, we fully understand the safety concerns in relation to Covid-19 for the services our members provide. Indeed, this is one of the reasons the Beauty Guild was invited to participate in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) review on safe working practices for our industry. As I’m sure you will recall, we were able to make a positive contribution to these discussions by supplying BEIS with the results from our surveys on how the pandemic had affected the industry and how business owners were preparing to re-open safely.
In April 2020, in order to support our members, the Beauty Guild created an online training course “Covid-19 Infection Prevention and Control”, which includes information on risk assessments and a safe salon re-opening checklist. This course has now been completed by over 14,000 industry professionals and has been updated several times to reflect updated information and align with Government guidelines. The latest update includes our newly created Beauty Guild Covid-19 Safe Working Guide which provides our members with a safe treatment flowchart and sample individual treatment risk assessments for just under 40 of the most popular hair, beauty, nails and holistic services.
Whilst the Beauty Guild is pleased that hairdressers and barbers are allowed to return to work in England on 4th July, we speak on behalf of our members in saying that the industry is very disappointed that beauty salons, nail bars and holistic therapy centres must remain shut, until, as Mr Johnson said from the dispatch box in the House of Commons on 23rd June 2020, “… we can be confident they can operate in a Covid-secure way.”
As the UK’s largest trade body for the professional beauty industry, The Beauty Guild are confident that nail bars, holistic therapy centres, beauty salons and training schools can re-open and operate in a Covid-secure way. We therefore ask that they be allowed to do so alongside hairdressers and barbers on 4th July 2020. Our industry is well prepared and ready to re-open safely.
In their management of this crisis, the UK Government has always claimed to be “following the science”. According to the Government guidelines “Keeping workers and clients safe during COVID-19 in close contact services”, the “science” can be distilled down as follows:
“Services which require workers to be within the ‘highest risk zone’ of clients (defined as the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth, that may not be visible, can be present and pose a hazard from the client to the practitioner and vice versa), for the entire duration or the majority of the time the service is being provided (such as eyelash extensions), should not be resumed unless they can be adapted in line with this guidance to make them safe (for example, by moving out of the highest risk zone and wearing a visor”
Having followed their own guidelines and “science”, Government is to be applauded for allowing hairdressers and barbers to re-open in England on 4th July. The other devolved nations have announced different opening dates and in the case of Northern Ireland, have included beauty salons and nail bars.
We now ask that the Government applies the same science to nail bars, holistic therapy centres and beauty salons as they have to hairdressers and barbers, and we urge the Government to consider the following three points:
1. Nail Bars can re-open in a Covid-secure way
The Beauty Guild believes that there is no scientific reason why nail services cannot be provided in a Covid-secure way providing that they comply with the Government guidelines. We therefore ask that nail bars should be allowed to re-open in England on 4th July alongside hairdressers and barbers
2. Holistic Therapy Centres can re-open in a Covid-secure way
The Beauty Guild believes that there is no scientific reason why holistic therapy services cannot be provided in a Covid-secure way providing that they comply with the Government guidelines. We therefore also ask that holistic therapy centres should be allowed to re-open in England on 4th July alongside hairdressers and barbers
3. Beauty Salons can partially re-open in a Covid-secure way
Whilst the Beauty Guild accepts that it may not be possible to offer some beauty treatments that require workers to be within the highest risk zone for more than half the treatment time, there is no basis in the guidelines or in the science that should prevent all beauty treatments from being offered. Examples include waxing, tanning, massage, etc, all of which actually pose less of a Covid risk than hairdressing and barbering services. We therefore ask that beauty salons should be allowed to re-open, having first conducted their own individual treatment risk assessments, offering treatments that are Covid-secure in accordance with the Government guidelines.
After giving due consideration to the points above, I hope that the Government will changes its decision and allow nail bars, holistic therapy centres and beauty salons to re-open in a Covid-secure way along with hairdressers and barbers. If, however, the decision remains to keep these establishments closed, will you please provide, as a matter of urgency, a full explanation as to why the Government believes that the “science” quoted in its own guidelines justifies this?
Paul Archer. BSc, MBA. CEng
Beauty Guild Director