News that English personal care businesses, including stores, salons and mobile therapists should re-open for trade on Monday 12 April, has been welcomed by industry representatives.
The government confirmed the re-opening this evening, providing four key tests are met:
- Vaccination programme continues to go to plan
- Vaccines reduce hospital admissions and deaths
- Infection rates do not put pressure on the NHS
- New variants do not change the risk of lifting restrictions
If all tests are met the government will then give one week’s notice to prepare for opening.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that local or regional restrictions could be implemented to contain and suppress new variants in specific areas.
Welcoming the news, National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) chief executive Richard Lambert said:
“We welcome today’s announcement of a clear date to work towards re-opening and that the sector will open as a whole, with the exception of saunas and steam rooms.
“We have been told that the information the sector provided influenced discussions at the highest level of government.
“We also welcome the Prime Minister’s reassurance that the government will continue to do whatever it takes to support the people and businesses through the financial impacts of the pandemic.”
However, with seven weeks to go before re-opening, the NHBF re-iterated its call for more targeted sector support and a reduction of VAT to 5%.
“We still need a specific grant to support our sector through the immediate cashflow crisis to the point where we can re-open,” he added.
The British Beauty Council also said that it was “delighted” by the decision to reopen personal care, all being well, on 12 April.
Chief operating officer Helena Grzesk said: “This is welcomed news and highlights just how far our sector has come in terms of raising our reputation and gaining recognition at government level over the past year.
“We will continue to champion and advocate for the personal care sector in the coming weeks and months with a continued focus to secure sector specific funding in the form of a personal care emergency fund and a VAT reduction to 5% as we have seen afforded to other sectors.
“We hope to see a consistent approach to the reopening of the sector as the devolved nations announce their roadmaps,“she added.
Independent salon owners also gave a cautious welcome to the news.
Hellen Ward, managing director of the Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London added:
“Whilst we are pleased to finally get a proposed date for opening, many salons will be nervously awaiting the budget on 3 March to see whether the Save Our Salons campaign to cut VAT to 5% has been successful.
“Without the same cut as hospitality and with social distancing limiting our capacity to trade we will not be in a position to sustain a financially viable business model. As a sector that is the largest employer of apprentices we need the VAT cut to sustain the jobs of our teams and young people.”