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Owners and workers ‘ecstatic’ as gyms and beauty salons prepare to reopen

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Some said they felt the changes would not have happened without pressure from their industry.

Owners and workers have said they are “ecstatic” as gyms, beauty salons and tattoo parlours prepare to reopen in the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced beauticians, tattooists and tanning salons can reopen from Monday – while gyms, indoor pools and other sports facilities can open their doors from July 25.

Alice Bellamy, from Calne in Wiltshire, has been a beauty therapist for 27 years and runs specialist laser hair removal studio Woman to Woman & The Male Perspective Ltd.

“I’m very pleased and actually ecstatic… my phone is buzzing with messages from clients already,” the 67-year-old told the PA news agency.

“But shocked that we only have three days notice. Which frankly is typical of the whole handling of this crisis.”

Alice Bellamy is preparing to reopen her salon in Wiltshire (Alice Bellamy)

Ms Bellamy said she had “very little” Government support during lockdown, and is glad to be able to earn again to mitigate debts she has incurred over four months of closure.

“I feel very lucky to have such loyal, lovely clients that are desperate to get back to having their treatments again,” she added.

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Louise Ferris, 33, co-owns the Blackgate Ink tattoo and piercing studio in Lancing, West Sussex, and said she is “over the moon”, but feels without pressure from the sector her shop would not be reopening.

“I am of course over the moon, but I do feel that had the numerous petitions and emails to local MPs not happened, we wouldn’t even be considered yet,” she told PA.

“I think we were always last in the Government’s eyes regardless of our strict PPE usage.”

Mrs Ferris added that she hoped parlour owners would still be able to apply for a second round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, as “we will all be working at a loss for the rest of the year”.

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Coronavirus – Wed Jun 24, 2020
Louise Ferris said changes may not have happened without pressure from her sector (Louise Ferris)

Although piercing was not mentioned in Mr Dowden’s press conference, the Government website says “body and skin piercing services” will reopen on Monday.

However, services that involve work in the highest risk zone, the face, will not be allowed – such as face waxing, eyelash treatments and facials.

Alicia Haynes, who runs Restore – a facial clinic in Fareham, Hampshire, said it is “heartbreaking” that facial treatments will not be allowed to go ahead under the restrictions.

“It’s a heartbreaking response; 90% of our business revenue is facial treatments that we cannot do,” she told PA.

“It makes no sense that you can trim a beard but I can’t remove hair on the face.

“This will result in the closure of so many female-led businesses. Why are the Government injecting so much cash into an alcohol-led industry when you don’t even need a qualification to pull a pint?

“To still not give us a date for when we can operate fully, just shows that the Government are not learning from any of their previous mistakes.”

Coronavirus – Thu Jul 2, 2020
Some gyms moved equipment outdoors in recent weeks to reopen early, as per changing Government rules (Owen Humphreys)

George Brinkman works at a gym in High Barnet, London, and said he is excited to reopen after a difficult four months.

“It’s been a very hard time for all, even more so independently-owned gyms,” he told PA.

“We have been working very hard behind the scenes to make everyone as safe as possible when they are back in the gym.”

As a 24-hour gym, Mr Brinkman said his centre closed on March 20 for the first time since it opened six years ago.

“Our members have been absolutely brilliant… and have been massively understanding,” he added.

His centre has been running fitness classes over Zoom, and these will continue even after their doors reopen.

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