#Dutytohelpbeauty petition takes off as Boris puts brakes on Covid-19 easing

Kick-started by lash and nail technician Ria-Jaine Lincoln, the campaign is asking the UK government to issue vouchers for beauty salons offering support similar to the hospitality sector

Lash and nail technician Ria-Jaine Lincoln has written an open letter to the UK government following its backtrack on the easing of Covid-19 restrictions for salon owners.

Her petition, dubbed #Dutytohelpbeauty, which has received more than 2,000 signatures, is asking the government to issue vouchers for beauty salons, to provide support similar to the hospitality sector.

Lincoln told Cosmetics Business that she does not believe beauty’s contribution to the UK economy is taken seriously.

“I am not sure if it is a lack of understanding or respect for the different beauty businesses that contribute to the economy or ignorance,” she said.

“Beauty is a huge provider of jobs and services in retail and education, as well as offering treatments in many different areas that fall under the beauty umbrella.”

She continued: “At one point salons were referred to as massage parlours and nail bars, which shows the lack of understanding that the Prime Minister has of the beauty industry and the contribution that it makes.

“If it was taken seriously, like hospitality, more would be done to get the beauty businesses back up and running.”

Beauty’s turbulent journey

From 1 August, salons were expected to be able to carry out treatments on the face, but last week the UK’s Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson issued a warning that the UK could be facing a second wave of the virus, causing him to halt easing of restrictions.

While the government had already said facial treatments would be the last service to be given the go-ahead, Lincoln said the delay has come “at the worst time imaginable”.

Lincoln noted: “These businesses have been completely shut since late March, with no alternative or way to innovate to bring in even a trickle of income during the lockdown.

“We are now in August with no end date in sight.”

In her letter, Lincoln, who is also a trained accountant, accused the PM of showing “no compassion or respect” for the beauty industry.

“You [Mr Johnson] have a responsibility not only to the economy but to the people, and this whole process have been handled with absolutely no compassion or respect for the whole industry, which you already know is a huge part of the UK economy contributing over £8bn to the UK economy and employing up to 300,000 people, predominantly women, across 49,371 businesses,” she wrote.

“Yes, we need to ensure people are safe and Covid secure, but we also need to ensure people are treated fairly and you have not shown fairness in the decisions that you have applied to your strategy in easing lockdown.

“You have not even given beauty businesses a chance to show that they are Covid secure.”

Ultimately, Lincoln said she hopes her initiative will raise awareness about beauty’s importance to the UK economy and that a voucher scheme will be granted to help the sector bounce back during the pandemic.

The Eat Out to Help Out service allows restaurants and other food serving establishments to offer customers a 50% reduction on their bill, up to a maximum of £10 per person, which can then be reclaimed by the business.

‘Beauty is now laughing matter’

Mr Johnson found himself in hot water with members of the beauty industry earlier in the year after he gave hairdressers the green light to reopen but issued no guidance for when nail bars, salons and spas could welcome back customers.

In response, The All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics & Wellbeing (APPG) and beauty brand Dermalogica wrote an open letter to the PM urging the government to publish a plan for when other beauty businesses could reopen.

Salon owners were finally given the go-ahead to reopen on 13 July, but were not allowed to offer treatments such face waxing, eyelash treatments and make-up application.

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