‘This could destroy us’: Sheffield beauty salons told to stay closed just 24 HOURS before reopening

The owners of some of Sheffield’s most popular lash and brow salons have spoken out about the destruction to their industry caused by the extended lockdown for their businesses, which must remain closed for at least another two weeks.

By Lloyd Bent
Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 8:58 am

Businesses like The Secret Brow Society on Kelham Island and Blynk in Meersbrook were expecting to reopen on August 1, and had spent thousands on making sure their premises were stocked and sterilised and all the correct PPE was purchased.

However, less than 24 hours before they were planning to reopen, the Government announced that close-contact businesses like theirs had to remain closed for at least another two weeks, with no definite reopening time given.

Dozens of appointments had to be cancelled and refunded, and the business owners now fear that the livelihoods they have spent years building will collapse unless they are allowed to reopen, or given government support to help them survive more weeks with no income.

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Maria Dallatiovanna showing the PPE they bought in when they were expecting to reopen

Maria Dallatiovanna, who owns The Secret Brow Society, said: “It has been devastating. To give us less than 24 hours notice is just disgusting.

"I have been running a successful business for almost six years. I employ 10 women and I also supply other businesses and teach.

"I have seen the impact this is having across the industry and it is heartbreaking.

"We have had no help. I have furloughed my staff, but we still have rent and bills to pay, and we spent thousands getting the business safe and ready.

Erica Anderson and her staff at Blynk in Meersbrook

"Now we have been told we have to stay closed after all that. It will have been five months without money coming in. If it keeps on like this I am going to have to let people go.

"Businesses are closing down, and there are talented women who have jobs but who are struggling to put food on the table.”

Erica Anderson runs Blynk lash salon, with premises in Meersbrook and the Katie Daley Makeup Academy.

She said: "At first we thought we could reopen on July 4, then it changed to July 15 for the beauty industries, then August 1 and then we were told close-contact salons had to wait at least two more weeks, with no guarantee it would not be more.

Blynk in Meersbrook was decked out for a celebratory reopening before the Government announced the extended lockdown restrictions.

"Each time the salons have booked customers for reopening. At one point we had a full month of appointments booked and we had to cancel them all when the Government made their short-notice announcements.

"That upsets customers and damages the businesses, but we had no choice.

“There are eight girls who work here on a freelance basis who have been struggling to feed themselves while they cannot work.

"There are businesses across Sheffield that have been set up and run successfully, for years, by hard-working women and it feels like they are just being left behind.

The Secret Brow Society staff celebrating returning to work before they were told about the extended lockdown.

"It feels like our industry is being penalised. So many other places have been allowed to reopen and the Government’s reason for keeping us shut does not make sense.

"They said that face-to-face appointments could not happen, but most of our work is done from behind, the same as it would be in a barber’s or tattoo parlour.

"And, in my 14 years working in this industry, I have not come across another that is as accustomed to sterilising and maintaining top hygiene levels as this one.

"We already sterilise everything after every use. We already work wearing masks. We know about working in a sterile environment.

"It is far easier to make sure everything is clean in a business like ours than it is in some of the busy pubs I have seen since they reopened.”

Erica and Maria both said that there are only two things that the Government could do to save the industry: let them reopen and start making money again; or provide financial support to help the businesses stay afloat while they are closed.

The Secret Brow Society in Globe Works on Kelham Island

A petition has been launched to encourage the Government to provide the financial support businesses across the industry need.