HAIR and beauty salons risk going bust as they could remain closed for another six months if the Government do not find a safe way to reopen.
The Governments scientific advisors have not been able to find a safe way hairdressers and beauty salons could open their doors, meaning 41,000 businesses could go bust soon. One senior government source told the newspaper: “People’s hair is going to get pretty long. We’re all going to end up looking like Captain Caveman by the end of this.”
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is currently working on how the UK would cope if lockdown restrictions were slowly eased up.
Ministers and public health officials have warned that lifting the restrictions too soon could trigger a “second wave” of the outbreak.
Many hair salons, nail and beauty workers are freelance, which means they cannot apply for the Government’s furlough scheme that pays 80 percent of a person’s earnings.
While a different scheme is set to launch in June, self-employed workers will only have Universal Credit as a means of support until then.
The National Hair and Beauty Federation CEO Hilary Hall told The Sun: “The primary concern of our members is when can they start operating their salons safely again, for themselves as well as their clients, rather than when they can reopen. There are real dangers when you have such close contact.”
Health Secretary Mr Hancock told the Downing Street press conference that the governments tests for lifting up the stringent lockdown measures had not been passed yet.
He said there is still an “awful lot of work that still needs to be done” before the government can begin lifting the restrictions.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there needed to be a “grown up” discussion on how to lift the lockdown, as she published her own exit plan.
Ms Sturgeon suggested she would be willing to ease the restrictions in Scotland independently, while Northern Ireland implied they would do the same.
Ms Sturgeon said there must be a “better balance” between fighting the virus and preserving the economy.
She said: “This virus causes real harm and we see that everyday in the statistics that we report, especially in the numbers of people who have died.
“But the lockdown measures we are taking to contain the virus are also doing damage. They are doing harm to the economy, to living standards, to children’s education, to other aspects of our physical health and to mental health and wellbeing.
“The toll of all of that may also in time be measured in poorer health outcomes and lives lost so we must try to find a better balance than the one we have right now.”
Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, suggested Northern Ireland could exit the lockdown quicker than other parts of the UK.
She added the easing would be based around data such as rate of infection and death rate, rather than set timelines.
Dominic Raab said last night it will be weeks before ministers even “think about” laying out a full exit strategy.
Mr Hancock said: “I understand the thirst for knowledge but the tests that we have set out which are the basis from which others for instance the Scottish government have then developed their plans, those tests are the critical tests for when changes can be made.
“And of course monitoring what is happening and making sure that we move at the right time is absolutely critical.
“But the message remains to your viewers and to everybody across the country the message remains the same that people need to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“The reason that we have clarity on that message is it has succeeded in bringing down and flattening the curve.
“But we are not through that yet and there is an awful lot of work that still needs to be done and we are absolutely determined to avoid a second peak.
“We have set out… the five tests for when we should move.
“We haven’t met them yet and therefore we must keep the social distancing measures in place.”