'Forgotten' firms left in limbo over coronavirus reopening
Beauty salons, tattoo studios and dance schools have said they feel forgotten about in the race to reopen – as they still not have received any guidance as to when they can start trading again.
The Government has said while hair salons, pubs and restaurants can open from July 4, certain businesses by law must stay closed – including nightclubs, nail bars, massage parlours, tattoo studios, beauty salons, dance and fitness clubs, and others.
But local company owners falling under these categories have said the situation is impossible, difficult and frustrating – when they believe they could safely reopen at any time.
Craig James owns the New Ink Tattoo Studio in Tettenhall said it was “really frustrating” not being allowed to open.
The 43-year-old, who was in the news back in 2018 when he inked a major Luke Skywalker tattoo on a client, said: “People are allowed to go into a bar and if people have had a drink they’re going to end up well within the one metre – and it’s really frustrating for us.
“Plus we’ve got everything ready to go inside – I’ve purchased £1,500 worth on PPE and other measures to get it all ready to work.
“There’s hairdressers who will see between eight and 15 clients per day and I’m doing one person only – there’s less chance of people coming into contact with anyone who might have it.
“We will not be allowing walk-ins and if you come along you can’t bring a friend or family either to keep that risk down. Three of us work in the studio and we’re all three metres apart - there’s hand sanitisers for the customers on each station, on entry and at the toilets as well. We’ve got face shields, disposable gauntlets, and aprons as well.
“Everything is cleaned to a medical standard and it’s mind-boggling that we’re not allowed to open. They’ve allowed driving instructors to get back to work with no screen and they’re cleaning the steering wheel and the gear stick.”
Lisa Marusiak, owns Lisa Jay Hair Extensions – a hair and beauty salon – in Oldbury and is having to organise only half of her business reopening.
She said: “We have two ladies who do hair extensions, one who does hair cuts, and three ladies who do beauty treatments. On July 4 we can reopen for hair treatments but not the beauty side – and those three ladies can’t come back yet which is devastating for them.
“They are disappointed as we aren’t going back together. They’ve got all the PPE kit too. It’s frustrating as pubs can open when no-one there is probably going to be wearing any PPE.
"We will be wearing masks, gloves, do all the correct cleaning. We’ve spent hundreds of pounds. Why can walk into a pub without PPE, but you can’t with us?”
Charlotte Plant, who runs PureDance Studio in Cannock, has oddly been told that dancing is not allowed in her studio, but that she can sell alcohol because she has a license to.
She said: “It has been quite difficult, but the only positive thing is that I’ve got a few connections with the different dance societies so we’re in constant contact with them about trying to waiver the decision.
“It’s just another obstacle we have to face. I feel like we’ve been dangled a carrot about opening on July 4 and then it’s been moved away from us. During that time we’ve got signage up, screen protectors, and everything in the studio implemented.
“We had the news that dancing is not allowed in studios – but I’m a licensed premises, so I’ll be able to serve alcohol, which is so unusual.
“We’ve all been discussing how to let the Government know we can implement things and social distance. I would say around 80 per cent we have solo lessons and I’m more than two metres apart for that - and most people who dance together have lived together during this pandemic.”
Owner of major water park Waterworld, in Staffordshire, Mo Chaudry, earlier this week said it was “absurd and grossly unfair” that pubs could reopen but indoor gym and fitness centres had to stay closed.
Mr Chaudry’s leisure and fitness group is one of the largest family-run independent businesses of its kind, with sites across the UK.
He said: “How can it possibly be safer for people to go back into a pub, than it is for them to set foot in a gym? This makes no sense at all – it’s ridiculous.”