[Updated] National lockdown extended: beauty businesses in England to remain closed until at least March 8
Beauty salons, spas and mobile therapists across England must now remain closed until at least March 8, as Boris Johnson has announced an extension to the national lockdown.
In an address in parliament, Johnson said that schools would remain closed until at least March 8.
Once schools have reopened, he said other lockdown measures will begin to be lifted. This means the current lockdown will last for at least nine weeks in total.
The Prime Minister said the Government would set out plans in the week beginning February 22 for a "gradual and phased" easing of lockdown measures.
Prior to this, in an address on January 4, Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed people to "stay at home" as they did during the first lockdown in March 2020.
The restrictions were announced after new figures showed that Covid-19 cases are rising quickly across all areas of the country due to the new coronavirus variant.
Schools and colleges also closed from January 5.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced some new financial support measures, although many are still campaigning for sector-specific support for hair and beauty, similar to the additional support that has been promised to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
All businesses required to close, including salons and spas, are eligible for one-off Government grants to help them through to the spring. The amounts vary depending on the size of the business:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under.
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.
On December 19, it was announced that London, and many areas of the South East and East of England were effectively placed back into lockdown as a new Tier 4 was created. Personal care services were among those told to close from 00.01 on December 20.
On December 23, it was announced that additional areas, including Oxfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and more would join the list from December 26.
Then additional areas including much of the North and the Midlands joined Tier 4 on December 31.
The changes were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson following the discovery of a new variant of coronavirus which spreads significantly more easily than the original strain.
"Early analysis suggests the new variant could increase R by 0.4 or greater. Although there is considerable uncertainty, it may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant," said Johnson.
At this stage, figures from the National Hair & Beauty Federation revealed that Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions were set to cost beauty and hair businesses across the UK more than £124 million per week in lost income.
The NHBF said it was lobbying the Government for additional support for the sector. Chief executive Richard Lambert said, "Financial help to salons and professionals during this difficult time will be the only way to ensure the hair and beauty sector can return to where it was at the beginning of 2020."