St Albans beauty owners reveal frustrations as lockdown restrictions are finally eased
- Credit: Archant
After feeling like the forgotten trade and being the last ‘shop’ to be given the go-ahead from Ivory Towers, finally the news drops. Beauty salons can re-open.
A huge sigh of relief is heard by all the unaccompanied eyebrows of St Albans.
The Herts Ad spoke to some beauty salon owners about the changes they have had to make to operate safely and what treatments they can currently offer.
Salons were permitted to open from July 13 but with restrictions to any face-only services, which is deemed to be the highest risk zone.
Owner of Skin To Love Jane Lewis said she is looking forward to getting back to work, having planted enough vegetables during lockdown to feed an army.
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She said: “We had extremely thorough protocols in place prior to the pandemic, but since lockdown we have further added to these.
“Currently, we can only accommodate those with pre-booked appointments so no walk-in visitors for safety and infection control purposes.”
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Skin to Love carry out more medical-type procedures rather than surface beauty treatments.
She added that people can still buy products but they need to pay first over the phone and collect by arrangement.
Eve and Adam’s owner Sally Watkins is really on the ball too. As I arrive I am asked who I am, pointed at with a temperature-taking gun type thing, then asked to wear a mask and go and wash my hands. I don’t think anybody has told me to wash me hands since the day our West Highland Terrier rolled in fox poo just before dinner in 1987.
“We were totally geared up to open on July 4,” said Sally. “We were shocked when we couldn’t.”
And then, when barbers could trim beards but a woman couldn’t get their eyebrows shaped, she felt “it was sexist; there was an unfair gender bias there”.
In the end she re-opened her doors on July 14 and will be offering facial treatments too from August 1.
However there will be masks, visors and also gloves, so no skin-to-skin contact with any treatment.
This is to protect her staff, as well as customers, who she fears will be exhausted having not worked for so long: “We are going to be so busy and it’s a really physical job.”
Sally made the most of the lockdown period and took the opportunity to completely refurbish the salon, creating more space and providing a clean, new environment for her team of five to return to: “For once I had time to think about the bigger picture, so I rebranded too. It’s a great new start for us all.”
But she is positive about the future: “It’s a lot harder for others, we’ve been established a long time.”
Frustrated customer Shirley Clark said that she really wants to be able to get her eyebrows done but can only pop into her salon to buy products at the moment.
Owner of Ginger Natural Health Suzie Vincent has also found it unfair that her industry is one of the last to be allowed to open.
“I think people fully expected to have all beauty treatments back at the same time - but it seems as though the government doesn’t really have a proper handle on the way the beauty industry works.
“There has been a huge pent-up demand with people waiting for these treatments to be made available. Now that they are we’ve had a lot of phone calls and prior booking for the next few weeks. We can do facial treatments from behind people so we are not face-to-face at all.”
She said the impact on people who have regular massage and osteopathy treatments has been significant.
Suzie agreed with Sally that it makes no sense that beards can be trimmed but brows cannot. Which leaves me wondering...how has Boris kept his brows looking so tidy over lockdown? They look better than mine. Maybe.