A beautician who has been left relying on food banks during lockdown has accused the government of ‘leaving the industry to rot’.
Becky Gencer, from Leeds, appeared on This Morning to say she has been left fearing eviction and is now relying ion food banks having been massively impacted by restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile Blink Brow Bar founder Vanita Parti warned restrictions are leading customers to seek treatments from ‘very dangerous’ rogue traders.
At the end of July, Boris Johnson said the scheduled August 1 return of close contact services like beauticians who might perform treatments such as administering fillers, threading eyebrows or facial waxing, has been pushed back to August 15 ‘at the earliest’.
Becky Gencer, from Leeds, slammed the government during an appearance on This Mornign today as she accused politicians of ‘leaving the beauty industry to rot’
While hairdressers have been allowed to work since July 4, and manicurists were given the go-ahead on July 13, any treatments on the face were still off-limits, so for five months Becky, who offers procedures such as lip fillers and semi-permanent brow tattooing through her business, Beautopia North, had been unable to work.
Becky, who has been in the industry for over 10 years, said: ‘It’s majorly affecting me now and I’ve never been in this situation before. In this period of lockdown, I’m £20,000 down.’
She said: ‘When I thought we could reopen, I was really, really excited to be reopening.
‘I spent £1,600 getting stock in. I couldn’t afford it but I knew I’d be getting that money back.’
She estimated that within the first week of reopening, she could have earned £5,000.
Meanwhile Blink Brow bar founder Vanita Parti warned restrictions are leading to ‘very dangerous’ rogue traders as ‘people jump on the band wagon to make some money’ from those desperate for their beauty treatment
Becky added: ‘All the government does is talk about the people they have helped but they’re missing out on the thousands of people that they’ve not helped.
‘They’re just ignoring us. They’re just not doing anything. They’re laughing at us in parliament. We’re strong, entrepreneurial women and we’ve been overlooked.’
Meanwhile Vanita explained: ‘We’re fortunate, so we’re a bigger business who has been able to furlough, but in August, we can’t do that anymore.
‘I’ve got 250 girls desperate to get back to work and they wont let us open our doors.’
Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes appeared stunned as Vanita and Becky said they were ‘desperate to work’ but haven’t been able to do so since March
She said: ‘They have a responsibility to independents that have fallen through the net and businesses like ours that say if you’re not going to let us work, you’re going to support us financially.’
‘My business is £10 million revenue making business. We want to get back to work and contribute.
She added that she felt the government didn’t ‘understand’ the differences between treatments on offer from beauticians, saying: ‘Come and understand what we do. We’re safe, we’re a hygienic sector, we always have been.
‘It makes no sense that a man can go and get is beard trimmed and a woman can’t get her face seen to.
Vanita went on to say she felt the government ‘didn’t understand’ the differences between sections of the beauty industry
‘We wear a mask, a visor, gloves, and the customer wears a mask. A man when he’s trimming his beard does’t wear a mask. It’s complete nonsense.’
Meanwhile Becky revealed she’d been left relying on her savings to survive during the pandemic.
She said: ‘Luckily I had some savings that I’ve been saving up for a deposit for a house.
‘I’ve been living off my savings which has lasted five to six months but now I’ve not got any savings left.
‘I’m in a position where I’m having to visit food banks. I’m embarrassed to say that.’
Vanita added that some beauticians are now working ‘underground’ and called the practice ‘very dangerous’
‘What are the government going to do? How are they going to help us? I’m ready to work, I want to work, I’m just not being allowed to work.’
Meanwhile Eamonn went on to ask about people who had been going ‘underground’ to seek out treatments, with Vanita calling it ‘very dangerous.’
She said: ‘We’re the professionals, we should lead by example and I know for a fact that many of our customers are trying to get treatments any which way.
‘It brings on rogue traders and people jumping on the band wagon to make some money.’
When can beauty salons open?
After the infection rate doubled in July, ministers and scientists are increasingly weary of a second onslaught of the virus, which is seeing a resurgence in several other countries.
At the end of the month, with less than 24 hours’ notice, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he was back-pedalling on his plan to allow a number of businesses, including the remaining parts of the beauty industry, to reopen on August 1.
Many have criticised the policy as sexism because male-dominated arenas, such as pubs, betting shops, barbers, cricket grounds and golf courses are open, but beauty salons are not.
A man can get his beard, nasal hair and moustache trimmed, while not wearing a mask, but a woman can’t have a brow or lash treatment while wearing one.
Calling the policies ‘non-sensical’, she added: ‘The government need to know that we are going to do this properly.’
‘The fact there’s been a spike in the R rate is not down to us because we’ve been closed.’
Becky added: ‘I would say [to Boris Johnson] if you can’t let us work, give us a reason or just support us.
‘They’re leaving us to rot now, it’s completely unfair. Why ar they letting pubs open and not us? There is no reason for it.’