Various trade organisations have joined forces calling for permission for customers to remove masks for beauty treatments – and to allow salons to get back to business and “save themselves from the brink”.
The British Beauty Council along with the National Hair & Beauty Federation, British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology and the UK Spa Association have written to Scottish business minister Jamie Hepburn, urging him to review the guidance.
They point out there are more than 3,800 hair and beauty salons in Scotland generating sales of more than £440 million.
Additionally, the group wants to see a level playing field, with practitioners operating on medical/health premises, and a clear timeline outlining when restrictions within the sector are likely to be relaxed and removed.
They say despite support from government, many hair and beauty businesses in Scotland are still struggling due to the limitations on treatments and services – adding the number of such businesses with no cash reserves had more than doubled to 61 per cent by the end of 2020.
The collective also said Scotland has held back the spa industry, with sauna and steam rooms facilities under forced closure for more than a year now, and “no indicative date within their road map for reopening these vital facilities”.
Up to 70 per cent of spa revenue depends on the reopening of these facilities, the group added.
British Beauty Council chief executive Millie Kendall said: “Businesses within the hair, beauty and wellness sector in Scotland are on the brink. Whilst the First Minister has outlined her initial plans to reopen and the order by which sectors may be permitted to begin operating, all the while the mask requirement exists, make-up artists, facialists etc are completely unable to operate with no indication of when this might change.
"This is simply unacceptable.”
Echoing the group’s calls is Rosie Fraser, owner of That Rosie Glow salon in Edinburgh’s Abbeyhill.
She said: “Clients not being able to remove masks for over a year now has greatly affected the beauty industry. In our salon, it means we cannot offer treatments such as facials, dermaplaning, facial waxing/threading and also make-up other than eye make-up.”
The salon owner said it “doesn’t seem fair” when everywhere else in the UK outside Scotland can offer such services with additional personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a visor as well as a mask.
“I know at That Rosie Glow we would be more than happy to wear extra PPE if it meant we could offer full services again,” she said.
"From speaking with clients, they would feel safe and comfortable with this as for most treatments we work from the side or behind the client and they are just desperate to have these treatments and services again.”
Ms Fraser added: "We have done a lot within the salon to make it as safe and clean as possible whilst still maintaining a luxury and comfortable environment.” She said the beauty sector had lacked the same financial support as others.