The impact of Covid: ‘My closed hair salons cost me £1,000 a day’

We know the effects of lockdown have been dire to many businesses. Co-founder of chain beauty salon Richard Ward, Hellen Ward, stated her debts have built up exponentially whilst their business has been forced to close under government restrictions.

Ward woefully stated: “We have worked out it’s probably £1,000 a day in debt that we have incurred in being closed.”

An Industry at Breaking Point

She is part of a larger movement crying out for the government to cut VAT to restore the beauty sector’s financial liquidity. Worryingly, a survey was completed in which 56% of salon owners are considering closing for good. This group has stated there are 45,000 salons – of which 300’000 people are employed.

According to the current roadmap out of lockdown, hairdressers and nail salons are due to reopen from the 12th April, alongside many other retails. But this long period of closure has come at a price – many of these businesses have racked up considerable debt.

“Furlough has been fantastic, but it’s not free.” Ward stated. These employers are still required to make their national insurance contributions, despite the forced closure.

“Without help to rebuild their finances, businesses may find it preferable to close their doors.”

New Budget Offers Potential Relief

Many beauty companies have paid full rent during the entirety of lockdown, despite the lack of income. Similarly, another salon owner, Gina Conway, says she is holding her breath ahead of the budget.

“Larger salons with lots of employees, big rents and high rates have particularly struggled.” Conway stated. She opened her first salon twenty years ago and now owns three hair and beauty salons within the London area.

“Because hairdressers can’t do takeaway or home visits or online haircuts, we are all really struggling to cover our costs.” She admitted. Despite this massive loss of income, she’s continued to pay rent, utility bills and insurance.

Despite the difficulty of the circumstances, Conway holds out hope for the future of her enterprise. “I have a successful business and I plan on growing. I’m just holding my breath on what the government can do to help.”

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