[Updated:] Salons in Northern Ireland to close again for six-week Covid-19 lockdown on December 26

Beauty salons, spas and mobile therapists will have to once again close on Boxing Day as Northern Ireland brings in a new six-week Covid-19 lockdown.

This is the latest in a series of lockdowns in the nation, the most recent being a two-week “circuit-break” lockdown that came into effect on November 27, just one week after they had been allowed to reopen following the previous five-week closure period.

The latest restrictions, which are due to come into force at 00.01am on December 26, involve the closure of all salons and spas, as well as non-essential shops pubs, bars and restaurants (apart from takeaway).

Why have there been so many lockdowns in Northern Ireland?

The coronavirus restrictions in November saw the closure of all non-essential retail and close-contact services, including beauty salons, hair salons, spas, barbers and mobile beauty businesses. However, schools remained open. 

Hotels and other accommodation providers were allowed to operate but on a restricted basis – i.e. for work-related travel and vulnerable people, while there will also be a strict work from home message. The tougher restrictions are being brought in to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. 

The restrictions were criticised by many business leaders, especially as they impacted beauty and hair businesses at their busiest time of the year. 

Salons were previously made to close from Friday, October 16, for a four-week period to curb the spread of the virus. The "firebreak" restrictions were due to end at midnight on November 13 but were then extened for a further week following disagreements between the parties that form the Northern Ireland Executive.

When the lockdown extension was announced, the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) began pressing the Northern Ireland Government for additional funding for the beauty and hair sectors and were asking how this will be made available to those who need it most. 

Following the original firebreak annoucment in October, NHBF chief executive Richard Lambert said, “It is hugely disappointing that [the original] 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.”

In a recent NHBF poll, 96% of salons and barbershops in Northern Ireland said they had not been contacted via Test, Trace and Protect (4,107), with only 186 (4%) responding “Yes”.

Is your salon based in Northern Ireland? Tell us how you’re feeling below. 

In many areas of the south and east of England, beauty salons and spas have been ordered to close from December 20. 

Salons in Wales must also close from December 20, while beauty businesses in Scotland are being told to close from Boxing Day.

Keep an eye on our beauty salons local lockdowns page for regular updates.