‘Nightmare before Christmas’: Beauty businesses shutter for England’s second Covid-19 lockdown

The UK government has ordered all ‘non-essential’ businesses in England to close until 2 December as the country grapples with the spread of the pandemic

Beauty businesses have been ordered to close once again for England’s impending second Covid-19 lockdown.

The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered the blow on Saturday evening that the country would enter a four-week lockdown as the country attempts to get a hold on the rapid spread of Covid-19.

The latest restrictions, coming into action from Thursday 5 November, will see personal care facilities including hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, tanning salons and massage parlours close until 2 December – at the earliest.

On Sunday 1 November, the UK reported more than 23,000 new cases of Covid-19.

In his speech to the nation, Johnson said “now was the time to take action” as fears for the NHS’ ability to cope with the rising number of cases looms.

However, speaking to Cosmetics Business the British Beauty Council’s CEO, Millie Kendall, said the announcement was not unexpected.

“I think we are slightly more prepared this time,” she noted, thanks to a better working relationship with the government.

But she also recognised the decision is going to have a catastrophic effect on the sector.

“Obviously this is devastating for a sector already hit hard by months of closure. Especially in the run to the holiday season.

“However, I suspect a lot of service businesses were already seeing a slow down in trade with the new Tier levels restricting socialising and traveling. We rely on people being out and about for footfall.

“There is a concern that there won’t be a certain end date to this latest lockdown, but we have to just fight for as much compensation as can be awarded to our businesses.”

Retailers in jeopardy

As well as salon services, non-essential retailers will also be forced to shutter for the four-week period as the sector approaches its crunch-time festive shopping period.

This will include the closure of department stores and other beauty stores, in what the British Retail Consortium (BRC) described as “a nightmare before Christmas”.

Helen Dickinson, the trade association’s CEO, said the decision will deny “customers access to many of their favourite shops and brands” and will cause “untold damage to the high street in the run up to Christmas.”

Retailers including Boots, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Harrods all reduced their headcount at the end of the first nationwide lockdown, creating fresh concerns for retail assistants’ jobs.

Dickinson also noted the first shutdown cost ‘non-essential’ shops £1.6bn a week in lost sales.

“Now that we are entering the all-important Christmas shopping period, these losses are certain to be much bigger,” added Dickinson.

She also cited a recent Sage report that concluded closing ‘non-essential’ retail would have a minimum impact on the transmission of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Lush's Retail Director said it's shop managers would continue still go to work during the second lockdown.

She said staff will be tasked with "finding ways to get our products out to our customers safely" and that all shops will be running collection services, and many will be providing local delivery and online consultations.

"We are working hard to ensure that our customers will be able to get their hands on our products, at a time when everyone needs fresh soap and a long bath more than ever."

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