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Coronavirus UK: Beautician slams government restrictions

A beautician who has been left relying on food banks during lockdown has accused the government of ‘leaving the industry to rot’.

Becky Gencer, from Leeds, appeared on This Morning to say she has been left fearing eviction and is now relying ion food banks having been massively impacted by restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile Blink Brow Bar founder Vanita Parti warned restrictions are leading customers to seek treatments from ‘very dangerous’ rogue traders.

At the end of July, Boris Johnson said the scheduled August 1 return of close contact services like beauticians who might perform treatments such as administering fillers, threading eyebrows or facial waxing, has been pushed back to August 15 ‘at the earliest’. 

While hairdressers have been allowed to work since July 4, and manicurists were given the go-ahead on July 13, any treatments on the face were still off-limits, so for five months Becky, who offers procedures such as lip fillers and semi-permanent brow tattooing through her business, Beautopia North, had been unable to work. 

Becky, who  has been in the industry for over 10 years, said: ‘It’s majorly affecting me now and I’ve never been in this situation before. In this period of lockdown, I’m £20,000 down.’

She said: ‘When I thought we could reopen, I was really, really excited to be reopening.

‘I spent £1,600 getting stock in. I couldn’t afford it but I knew I’d be getting that money back.’

Becky, who has an 11-year-old and a five-year-old, estimated that within the first week of reopening, she could have earned £5,000.  

Becky added: ‘All the government does is talk about the people they have helped but they’re missing out on the thousands of people that they’ve not helped.

‘They’re just ignoring us. They’re just not doing anything. They’re laughing at us in parliament. We’re strong, entrepreneurial women and we’ve been overlooked.’

Meanwhile Vanita explained: ‘We’re fortunate, so we’re a bigger business who has been able to furlough, but in August, we can’t do that anymore. 

‘I’ve got 250 girls desperate to get back to work and they wont let us open our doors.’

She said: ‘They have a responsibility to independents that have fallen through the net and businesses like ours that say if you’re not going to let us work, you’re going to support us financially.’

‘My business is £10 million revenue making business. We want to get back to work and contribute. 

She added that she felt the government didn’t ‘understand’ the differences between treatments on offer from beauticians, saying: ‘Come and understand what we do. We’re safe, we’re a hygienic sector, we always have been. 

‘It makes no sense that a man can go and get is beard trimmed and a woman can’t get her face seen to.

‘We wear a mask, a visor, gloves, and the customer wears a mask. A man when he’s trimming his beard does’t wear a mask. It’s complete nonsense.’

Meanwhile Becky revealed she’d been left relying on her savings to survive during the pandemic.

She said: ‘Luckily I had some savings that I’ve been saving up for a deposit for a house.

‘I’ve been living off my savings which has lasted five to six months but now I’ve not got any savings left.

‘I’m in a position where I’m having to visit food banks. I’m embarrassed to say that.’

‘What are the government going to do? How are they going to help us? I’m ready to work, I want to work, I’m just not being allowed to work.’

Meanwhile Eamonn went on to ask about people who had been going ‘underground’ to seek out treatments, with Vanita calling it ‘very dangerous.’

She said: ‘We’re the professionals, we should lead by example and I know for a fact that many of our customers are trying to get treatments  any which way. 

‘It brings on rogue traders and people jumping on the band wagon to make some money.’

Calling the policies ‘non-sensical’, she added: ‘The government need to know that we are going to do this properly.’

‘The fact there’s been a spike in the R rate is not down to us because we’ve been closed.’ 

Becky added: ‘I would say [to Boris Johnson] if you can’t let us work, give us a reason or just support us. 

‘They’re leaving us to rot now, it’s completely unfair. Why ar they letting pubs open and not us? There is no reason for it.’ 

Their appearance on the programme comes days after the government’s decision to postpone the re-introduction of facial beauty treatments was branded ‘sexist’ after pictures emerged online of barbers waxing their male client’s facial hair.

While plans to allow facial treatments have been postponed, images shared on Twitter revealed that dozens of barbers have been applying wax, without wearing the proper PPE, to the beard, lip and eyebrow area of their clients. 

In a desperate plea to the Prime Minister, beauty influencer Caroline Hirons, 50, from London, collated a series of social media posts from the past week.

Twitter users reacted with anger over the snaps and branded it ‘sexist’ that close contact beauticians such as administering fillers, threading eyebrows or facial waxing, have remained banned. 

One now removed post, from London Barbers Club, which Caroline claims was posted on Sunday, showed a man with wax on his nose, cheeks, ears and eyebrows.

Meanwhile another re-posted image from Findik’s Turkish Barbers, in Bournemouth, revealed a barber posing for a selfie with his mask around his neck, after just having administered wax to a clients nose. 

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, previously said it was ‘not a level playing field’ between the two types of grooming.

Last month, she said: ‘It’s definitely not a level playing field for female beauty versus male grooming. We’ve seen barbers trimming brows and trimming beards.

‘Even if it looks like I could get my eyebrows done at a barbers this weekend, I’ll wait until it’s deemed OK to go to a salon.’   

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