14 October 2020

The First Minister in Northern Ireland has announced that close contact services which includes hair, beauty, barbering and mobile businesses will have to close from Friday 16 October at 6pm for a four-week period, unless there is a medical need for these services.

The NHBF is pressing the Northern Ireland Government for urgent clarification on what financial support will be available to our sector and how this will be made available for those who most need it.

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF say, “It is hugely disappointing that this announcement has been made without any mention of specific financial support. We urgently need assurances from the Northern Ireland Executive that as a minimum they will be providing cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns similar to that of the rest of the UK (England is up to £3,000 per month for each business forced to close). The hair and beauty industry is already under immense strain and many salon and barbershop owners are worried about the survival of their businesses, and the jobs of their employees.  People could potentially be closing on Thursday evening without knowing if they will have a business to return to.”

The NHBF has continued to lobby the UK government and those in the devolved nations to demonstrate that the reopening of close contact services such as those within hair and beauty has not contributed to the current rise in Coronavirus cases. In recent NHBF poll, an overwhelming 96% of salons and barbershops in Northern Ireland had not been contacted via Test, Trace and Protect (4,107), with only 186 (4%) responding ‘Yes’.

The hair and beauty sector has a significant role to play in maintaining the overall health and wellbeing of the public. With it highly likely that the country will be living with Coronavirus for some time, it is absolutely essential that services such as ours remain operational to support the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of the general public through this crisis.