Victorian beauty industry calls for reopen under lockdown restrictions

Victorian beauty industry calls for reopen under lockdown restrictions

Words by Bella de Almeida Reis

Salons demand the same treatment as hairdressers.

When Premier Andrews delivered the Coronavirus Road To Recovery news to Victorians on Sunday, it’s fair to say people were hoping to be able to return to a more pre-COVID life. However, it looks like restrictions are here to stay for a while longer, with a step-by-step roadmap now in place until at least late November.

In Victoria, most businesses will continue to remain shut for at least several weeks, other than restaurants and cafes providing takeaway and retail businesses that are open for essential shopping. As outlined in the new roadmap, regional Victoria is in a stronger position to progress more quickly through the proposed steps than metropolitan Melbourne. Yet this hasn’t necessarily made it easier for some local businesses in regional Victoria.

As an example, the beauty industry, including nail, waxing, and skin treatment salons, will remain closed until we reach the roadmap’s last step. This is scheduled for the end of November, and when there are no new cases for 14 days across the state.

This has created much distress in the beauty industry, as it has prevented in-person customers for over six weeks since the second lockdown began. Face-to-face service delivery is this industry’s main source of income.

Forte had a chat with Tara Bellears – co-owner of Mermaids Beauty Salon in Ocean Grove – about her feelings towards the recent Victorian Government announcement.

“[It] really stings. While we totally understand the need to be cautious reopening, how are we supposed to survive more than six months of being forced shut? Yes, our landlord is discounting our rent, but other bills still keep coming in. And when your earnings are zero, the government grants quickly disappear,” says Tara.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do from home. We have made at-home-facial-kits that clients can purchase to stay on top of their skin care. We are also doing free delivery of products. We will do online tutorials of makeup and skincare, but these aren’t bringing money in and that’s what we need,” continues the salon director.

Hairdressers continue to remain open during Stage 3 restrictions with appropriate social distancing measures in place, so beauticians are calling to be recognised under the same umbrella.

“In regard to hairdressers being open, this infuriates me. We have always been classified as one, and now when suits, we get split. Beauty is the last stage of reopening, yet hair only closes in stage 4. We are trained professionals that have exceptional hygiene and have so many extra things we have implemented post-COVID,” shares Tara.

According to an article written by the ABC, the Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network “estimates there are 130,000 beauty businesses in the country, yet it is aware of only one incident of coronavirus transmission in a beauty salon.” So, it does make the industry question why restrictions have been implemented if effective safety precautions have been put in place.

Tara is encouraging all Victorians to sign a petition in support of the reopening beauty salons across the state. You can put your name down here.

While Forte supports the need to protect our health, we are also conscious of the challenges the pandemic has created to those people who have lost work or been forced to close their businesses. If you want to further support your community but don’t know how, we’ve listed a few ways you can lend a helping hand and spread the love to your fellow local workers:

Follow and engage with their socials
Social media makes it incredibly easy to hit the Like, Follow or Share button. You could even leave them a review or privately DM and praise their hard work. So, go ahead and show them how much you enjoy their content! Plus, more engagement means more exposure, and their audience reach expands – so you’re doing them a favour, really.

Tell your family and friends
Maybe you saw a product you so desperately want, or can’t stop laughing at the memes they post. Maybe you even think they have a visually pleasing Instagram feed. Either way – start a conversation about it and others might end up loving the business as much as you do.

Purchase a product
This one is key for the business to survive through COVID-19. By buying locally, you’re helping local workers retain their jobs, and also keeping your community’s economy thriving. Even if you purchase something small, it will mean the world to them.