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Hair and beauty therapists express concerns over Covid-19 facemask law changes

Gaelle Walker
06 July 2021

Hair and beauty therapists across England are voicing concerns about the potential scrapping of legal requirements to wear protective facemasks when the majority of Covid-19 restrictions end on 19 July.

The so-called “terminus” for many of the regulations is likely to see mask-wearing move from a legal requirement to an advisory one in close contact settings such as hospitals, care homes and hair and beauty salons.

However, hair and beauty therapists from across England have told TheIndustry.fashion that they are “worried” and “confused” about how to manage the change, with many keen to continue wearing protective face coverings.

Their fears come as the number of daily Covid-19 cases being recorded around the UK continue to soar.

Independent beauty therapist Nicola Went, who owns the successful Garden Room Beauty Therapy salon in Chessington, Surrey, said: “I am concerned about the likely changes to the mask-wearing requirements as I’ve got used to wearing my protective equipment and it does help me to feel safer.

“I would like to keep on wearing mine for very close contact treatments such as lash extensions, facials and brow work. While I know that many clients will also want to carry on wearing masks, many others will be keen to remove them straight away. I’m going to have to think really hard about how to approach the situation and talk to them. It’s all a bit worrying, awkward and confusing.”

Hellen Ward, managing director of the Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London also told TheIndustry.fashion: “I agree that this is a challenging situation. I think when therapists are in treatment it will become a matter of personal choice. The therapist may wish to keep their face covering on (remember dentists always did anyway before the pandemic) and the client may feel more comfortable if they do.

“I will be telling my team that it is their and their clients choice and the conversation should be had before going into the treatment room.”

Another therapist, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m going to continue to wear the mask and I think I am going to ask my customers to do so as well. I just think it’s too soon to stop in close contact services, the virus has not gone away.”

Meanwhile, a Facebook post outlining the key changes from 19 July by the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) has triggered almost 400 comments from hair and beauty therapists, many of whom are “concerned” about the potential changes to mask wearing rules.

One therapist said: “It doesn’t matter what the announcement is, I won’t be changing anything at my salon and all my clients will still have to wear a mask. If they don’t want to then they won’t be able to come.”

Also commenting on the situation, Millie Kendall, Chief Executive Officer of the British Beauty Council said: “We would all love to see the facemasks disappear but as we are an industry providing close contact services I would tend to agree with the beauty therapists sharing their concerns. 

“We know there might be some relaxing of facemask use and that it could become guidance and no longer law. But if it were optional I would choose to continue to wear it in some circumstances.

“We are a sector, across hair, beauty and wellness that has long used various forms of PPE in our everyday practices. I would assume that the clients will vary in their decision to whether to wear facemasks in salons, but for our practitioners if you are susceptible to the Covid 19 virus in the work that you do and your clients are choosing not to wear facemasks then it is best practice to protect yourself.

“You don’t want to catch the virus and then be out of work for 10 days isolating.”

 

 

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