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.”