Hair and beauty business across England are preparing to embark on the “long road to recovery,” when close contact services are allowed to resume on 12 April.
The news, confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of England’s four-stage lockdown exit plan, includes hair and beauty salons, spas and mobile services.
Saunas and steam rooms cannot open until step three of the roadmap, which is due to start on 17 May.
Commenting on England’s unlocking, British Beauty Council chief operating officer Helena Grzesk said: “There will certainly be a few busy weeks on the horizon for many businesses as they reopen and begin to work through the pent up demand of consumers, much like we’ve witnessed following previous periods of lockdown.
“We do need to be mindful of course, that social distancing restrictions will remain in place, which of course impacts on productivity levels and the ability to generate revenue.
“It is reported that personal care businesses are operating at 70% of their pre-covid levels whilst social distancing remains.
“We feel confident that the sector will ‘build back better’ to reclaim its place as the viable and growing sector that it was before Covid-19, however there is a long road to recovery ahead of us as people work hard to reopen, recruit and balance debts incurred and pay off loans taken to keep their businesses afloat.”
In the meantime, consumers could help by booking in regular appointments to help get businesses “back on their feet,” Grzesk added.
Stephen Nurse, operations director of the 9,000 sq ft Daniel Galvin flagship salon in George Street, London, said the salon’s colour team was already “solidly booked” for the first month following re-opening on 12 April.
“The biggest change we’ve made is that we’ve added 30 minutes to each appointment time to ensure that our staff have the time to take a break and re-set properly between clients. the last thing we want to do is have them all burnt out and exhausted after a few weeks,” he said.
“Visiting a salon now is obviously quite a different experience to what it was pre-Covid-19 but we’ve focused really hard on creating a new salon experience which focuses on three key S’s: Safe, Sterile and Serene.
“With the help of our landlord we’ve also updated the building’s air conditioning technology so that we can now do 240 fresh air changes a day which is really great for our clients and staff.
“I think going forward the main challenge is going to be making sure that the team and our clients don’t become complacent. Staying safe has to remain the key priority for one and all,” he added.
Also commenting on the sector’s re-opening in England, Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Hair & Beauty Federation said: “We are pleased that 12 April has been confirmed as the re-opening date in England and that the sector will open as a whole, with the exception of saunas and steam rooms.
“We welcome the decision not to split the sector’s opening, as it makes no sense for hair and beauty to be treated separately.
“Hair & beauty have been amongst those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic across all nations and so the sooner they can begin trading again the better chance of survival they will have long-term.”
Conformation of England’s route out of lockdown follows the phased re-opening of the personal care sector in Wales, which started with appointment only hair and barbering services on 15 March.
All hair and beauty services in Wales will also be able to resume on 12 of April, while in Scotland, hairdressers and barbers re-opened on an appointment-only basis on 5 April.