Sticking to Covid-19 measures at beauty appointments will save high street salons, here’s how to do it
At the moment, it feels like more people are posting about their positive lateral flow test results than they are their weekend plans. With UK cases of Covid-19 topping 100,000 for the first time just before Christmas, more and more of us were feeling hesitant to venture out to meet friends, make dinner plans and pay our beauticians a visit.
Research from the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) shows that in light of the introduction of the government’s Plan B on 8th December 2021, a third of all salon appointments were cancelled and 40% of salons lost between 20-50% of their revenue at the end of last year.
The high-case rate and drop in footfall has rolled into the new year with staying at home (and working there) becoming the norm again. Krisztina van der Boom, cofounder of London’s go-to nail and blow dry bar DryBy, says: “Due to the increase in cases of omicron and the working from home directive from government, the streets are abandoned. The immense drop in London’s footfall has haemorrhaged our business.”
The UK’s beauty industry needs your continued support. That’s why we’re here to settle your nerves when it comes to attending your beauty bookings and make sure you stay safe at beauty appointments. Here, London’s leading salon directors, business founders and beauty professionals candidly share their experiences and how they are trying their hardest to make you feel comfortable in London’s treatment chairs.
Why are salons having a tough time?
Despite seeing a notable boost in business in September and October of 2021, Hari’s Hairdressers saw attendance at the salon hit rock bottom again in December. Salon director, Lucan Salem explains, “We experienced a stealth lockdown due to the cancellation of Christmas parties and people reacting to government advice. There were loads of cancellations and moving of appointments which has now caused uncertainty.”
The surge in cases of omicron has also brought in tougher travel restrictions, something that has had a big impact on business for Natali Kelly. The owner of her own medical beauty clinic, which offers bespoke treatments for face skin and body, says: “Our international client base means that our diary is constantly changing due to travel restrictions and testing requirements. Although we have Covid policies in place, it is a constant challenge trying to navigate our business and adapt to the current climate.”
On top of all of this, despite some government-backed grants and rebate schemes being reintroduced, support for the beauty industry has been lacking throughout this period. “The beauty industry was hit just as badly as hospitality but did not benefit from the VAT reduction,” start numerous members of staff at Radiance London. As members of the Fitzrovia-based beauty ‘concept store’ that offers treatments spanning waxing, tanning, massage, facials and nails, the residents are facing unique challenges. “Nothing has been done to address the specific challenges facing businesses located in city centres,” they share.
Setting the record straight, Paul Edmonds of Paul Edmonds London says: “Turnover has been significantly reduced which causes concerns for January and the rest of the year, particularly for cash flow and being able to meet rent commitments (landlords in Knightsbridge aren’t being as understanding as we would hope) and payroll.”
What safety measures are in place?
Now that we’ve painted the picture straight from the horse’s mouth, what exactly are the guidelines for businesses that are performing treatments? And, how can you stay safe at beauty appointments?
Since the introduction of Plan B:
- Masks are mandatory again. If you are going to an appointment make sure to stock up on face coverings and cover your nose and mouth.
- Shops must have signs directing everyone to wear a face covering. Not only is this important to ensure everyone is wearing masks, it is illegal for salons to not have one of these signs visible. Look out for it.
Although that’s not the most extensive list of guidance, lots of beauty destinations are sticking to the initial restrictions that were introduced back in July 2020. Here’s why you can expect to stay safe at beauty appointments:
- Reduced capacity and individual work stations. The perspex dividers are there for a reason and if you want to make sure your designated area is clean, salon staff won’t mind re-sanitising it for you.
- Checks for Covid-19 upon arrival. Although there is talk of needing your vaccination passport to visit salons in the future, lots of beauticians are testing temperatures and asking for proof of a negative test. You should never visit a salon if you have Covid-19 symptoms.
- Staff testing. All of the salons featured in this piece, and the majority of others across the country, are carrying out frequent (if not daily) staff testing for Covid-19. If you want to double check this is happening in your local salon, check the website or call them before your appointment.
Charlotte Mensah, the powerhouse behind the famous Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil line and, of course, her own hair lounge says: I find the best way to support our team during these uncertain times is by empowering them to work safely yet giving them the resources they need to also work effectively,” undoubtedly echoing the thoughts all of salon founders and directors in the UK.
Monica Botros, Head of Marketing at Strip Hair Removal Experts, shares that the UK-based hair removal bars have used these measures to their benefit. “We haven’t seen a drop in bookings or guest retention here at Strip since Covid-19 Plan B. We believe this is due to our high levels of Covid safety measures which are practiced across all of our salons and how we are communicating these to our guests, to ensure they feel as comfortable as possible when they visit us,” they explain.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge that you need to visit your salon safely, there’s no stopping you! Get those highlights retouched, that bikini line waxed and your eyebrows tinted all in the knowledge that you’re helping the British beauty industry to thrive.