LOCKDOWN FURY: ‘Dogs can go for a haircut but not people’

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Harriet Evans from Hevans salon with Matthew Curtis - Matthew Curtis salon; Jane Clayton - Head Honchos; Leeanne Quill - VIP salon; David Lawson Evans - No56 aesthetics; Sean Coonan - Spirit Hair; Christian Williams - Black Sheep Barber; Leah Hunt - Leah Hunt Hair; Sharon Troy - the Hair Room; and Corinne Lee - Hevans salon. Photo: Mark Williamson

Hairdressers have been left fuming after Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi appeared to prioritise dogs needing grooming over people’s hair needs.

As the Herald reported last week, 39 colleagues from the hair and beauty industry sent the MP an open letter asking why they had to close while a random group of other businesses – including dog-grooming – could remain open.

They questioned the logic of allowing shops such as jewellers (some of which are running a ‘come in and collect’ service), DIY merchants and takeaways to remain open while they had to shut under the second lockdown rules.

Harriet Evans, owner of Hevans Bespoke Hair, said: “It’s not that there’s a lockdown – we understand the virus is serious. However, it seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry can open if they are termed essential.”

Replying to the open letter, Mr Zahawi said the reason hair and beauty salons were closing was because they posed a higher risk of virus transmission.

He added: “I appreciate these new restrictions come as a blow to many businesses operating in this sector and I understand your frustrations.

“You mention dog-grooming businesses… they play a role in ensuring the welfare of the nation’s pets and are allowed to operate within strict advice on social distancing and hygiene that has been issued.”

Ms Evans said she was infuriated by the response, and immediately fired back another email to the MP, saying: “You have insulted the importance of my industry. How is the welfare and wellbeing of an animal now being taken more seriously than that of a human being?

“Don’t get me wrong: I believe it should be the exact same. Do you have any idea of the measures salon owners have in place to ensure the public’s safety?”

Mr Zahawi’s lack of response to her question about what was being done to support her industry financially in the same way as the hospitality sector caused Ms Evans further fury.

She signed off her latest later: “I am disappointed your response is so uneducated, completely useless and not supportive in the slightest.”

  • SJD67

    Whilst as the owner of a beauty business I wholeheartedly agree, usual shoddy journalism from the Herald stating that jewellers can open, when they can’t . I do question why garden centres are classed as essential businesses. The amount of money that the hair and beauty industry have spent in making their businesses far safer, with screens and the PPE that staff wear and the safety procedures put in place is astronomical. Yet you can go into any of the essential businesses that remain open and I have not seen any of them taking temperatures like we do, fully cleaning all surfaces between clients and ensuring that safe distances are maintained and that businesses aren’t crowded. When we were permitted to open we were seeing less clients due to adding an additional 15 minutes onto each appointment to allow for cleaning and safety checks. The hospitality industry has had money thrown at it with eat out to help out and VAT cuts, yet our industry has been ignored