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Matt Hancock says he ‘can’t commit’ to reopening hairdressers by June 15

Matt Hancock says he hopes that hairdressers will soon be up and running once Britain has secured enough PPE – not least because his wife has been cutting his own locks.

The Health Secretary told ITV’s This Morning that ‘it is a challenge, but not an insurmountable challenge’ to get the UK’s 11,000 salons up and running soon.

Hairdressers have said they are ready to open their doors in June – earlier than the July 4 Government date -and have accused the Government of being too slow, with some beauticians and hairdressers operating on the lockdown black market.

In Europe salons are open already with everyone forced to wear masks, including customers, and dry cuts, magazines, hot drinks and even long chats banned. Blow drying is also being avoided where possible.

This Morning Ruth Langsford said she was ‘desperate’ to get a trim – before saying Mr Hancock’s hair looked good, to which he replied: ‘My wife cut it. I think she did a fantastic job’, adding he was ‘inspired’ by Phillip Schofield, who had his hair cut by his wife on camera.

But the Health Secretary would not commit to hairdressers being allowed to open on June 15 but is working to ensure they are open as soon as possible.   

Matt Hancock was complimented on his hair today where he admitted his wife had been cutting his hair

Matt Hancock was complimented on his hair today where he admitted his wife had been cutting his hair

Matt Hancock was complimented on his hair today where he admitted his wife had been cutting his hair

Mr Hancock says his wife Martha was inspired to give him a trim after Phillip Schofield got his haircut on live TV

Mr Hancock says his wife Martha was inspired to give him a trim after Phillip Schofield got his haircut on live TV

Mr Hancock says his wife Martha was inspired to give him a trim after Phillip Schofield got his haircut on live TV

‘I would love to be able to do that and the way to do that is to ensure that, when it is safe to do so, hairdressing is brought back in a way that itself is safe. So, protective equipment.

‘We are working on what it would look like to have the protective equipment, exactly as you say, in place.

‘Hairdressing, like so many industries, we’re doing everything we can to support them through what is inevitably an incredibly difficult time.’

Pushed on whether June 15 could be feasible as an opening date, he added: ‘I can’t commit to doing it on that timetable but I can commit to working with the hairdressing industry, I already am, and talking to some of their representatives who are making this case and seeing how we could go about it.

‘I’m sure everybody understands that it has got to be done in a way that is safe to do.’ 

The Hair and Barber Council, which represents 11,000 salons in the UK, said politicians are taking too long to give their members the green light to restart business.

Most of the group’s members would be able to open mid-June. However the Department for Business said July 4 remains the earliest date this would be possible.

Salons have not been able to take customers since the lockdown began on March 23.

Keith Conniford, chief executive of the Hair and Barber Council, said many salons wish to open alongside non-food retail outlets on June 15.

He told BBC Newsbeat: ‘I have spoken to a number of practitioners I know within barbering and hairdressing and resoundingly they said yes.’

He said his members would need only two weeks’ notice to be ready to start taking customers again.

The decision to open salons in July applies only in England, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland setting their own dates. Businesses are being tasked with making their premises ‘Covid-ready’ before they are allowed to open again.

Hairdresser Marinna Sinner does the hair of a customer at her hairdressing salon in Speyer, Germany, where salons have been open since May 4

Hairdresser Marinna Sinner does the hair of a customer at her hairdressing salon in Speyer, Germany, where salons have been open since May 4

Hairdresser Marinna Sinner does the hair of a customer at her hairdressing salon in Speyer, Germany, where salons have been open since May 4

The Government is co-ordinating with the sector to provide specific advice and has set out guidance for where people cannot work two metres apart. This includes erecting screens or barriers to protect staff and staggering arrival and departure times.

Baz Rifat, a salon owner in north London, said she has spent thousands of pounds getting her businesses Covid-ready. She has removed the waiting area, built booths and knocked down walls to allow the space to function in a way that reduces contact. Clients will also be required to wear masks.

Miss Rifat told the BBC: ‘We’ve been spacing it out so we’ve got social distancing.’ She said she will wear a shield when in contact with customers and has divided employees into teams so if someone falls ill, one group will isolate while the other keeps the salon open.

Fewer staff will be in contact with customers’ hair when they come for their appointments.

Miss Rifat said: ‘Normally we have assistants washing our clients’ hair but I will be doing everything.’

The Hair and Barber Council works with MPs to promote standards across the industry. However, the group is worried additional rules will stop its members from being able to do their jobs.

A Department for Business spokesman said: ‘The Government has set up task forces to work with industry representatives to develop safe ways for businesses such as hairdressers to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so.’

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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