What the Omnicron Variant means for Beauty

What the Omnicron Variant means for Beauty

With the recent reported increase in covid cases following the discovery of the new Omnicron covid variant and re-introduction of stricter government guidance, it is understandable that many business owners across all industries have concerns about what this could mean for their future over the next couple of months. 
In 2018, the British beauty industry was valued at a massive £28.4 billion*, with the beauty services sector contributing a total of £8 billion alone, making up 1.3% of the UK’s total GDP, however it was one of the most notably hard-hit during the pandemic. A recent report found that therapists and salons incurred an average financial loss of £11,603 on earnings**  due to closures and lost bookings, coupled with restricted government support for the thousands of therapists that are self-employed, as well as larger salon owners.
CEO and Chair of BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology), Lesley Blair comments: “The personal care sector was hit hard by the pandemic. According to research, 70% of businesses said they could not be sure their business would survive until the end of the financial year in 2021.”
Whilst the government recently announced updates to guidance, including increasing social distancing measures, there hasn’t been a high instance of the virus reported in beauty or hair salons so far. Despite this, it seems there has been a huge spike in last-minute cancellations, as consumers feel understandably anxious about going about daily life in their ‘new normal’, while many clients and staff are also having to self-isolate again due to changes in the rules.
Our recent survey sent to assess the impact  this December found that:
Over 97% of members had faced some cancellations, with just less than half of those of facing cancellations of between 20 – 45%
A further quarter had faced cancellations of between 50 – 75%
40% of salons have lost between 20-49% of their revenue this December
A further quarter have lost between 50 – 75% of their revenue
Nearly 5% have lost between 75-100% of their revenue
These figures are especially concerning given the fact that the average percentage of overall yearly revenue usually taken by salons in December is nearly 40% of their total earnings. BABTAC are therefore urging consumers to support their local beauty salons, by instead purchasing a gift voucher to be used at a later date if they need to cancel a pre-existing appointment (#supportyoursalon). This small gesture could go a long way to keep individual therapists and even the whole of the beauty industry on its feet, until things become more certain.
While there have been some much needed confirmation of further financial support from the Treasury our sector sadly does not meet the criteria for most of it. BABTAC Chair and CEO, Lesley Blair advises, “Our Personal Care sector has been one of the worst hit throughout this pandemic and while we welcome any further financial support much of the focus is only on hospitality and leisure sectors. We urgently require government to provide our sector more targeted support too.”

She continues, “It is also paramount for beauty salons to continue to implement the essential safety measures they have had in place throughout and even before the pandemic. Their experience in hygiene management has proved to be very effective thus far – demonstrated by the low number of infections recorded in our sector.

 Lesely appeared on on BBC News and 5Live to highlight the plight facing therpaists and salons. Please click for the interview

Please note that personal care services  are eligible for the new Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). You have to apply to your Local Authority, who each set their own application criteria and review applications. There is currently £250 million left in the ARG pot in addition to the £100 million announced yesterday. 

Our sector are also eligible for the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) - the SSPRS will help small and medium-sized employers – those with fewer than 250 employees – by reimbursing them for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to two weeks per employee. Click here for more on this.

In Scotland the First Minister also announced that new measures would come into effect from the 27th December . Click here for here full statement. The guidance and checklists for close contact services will be updated so please keep checking here for updates to those. For more on the Scottish local authority discretionary fund click here

 * https://britishbeautycouncil.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Value_of_beauty_FINAL.pdf 
  ***A survey of 1002 BABTAC Members (December 2021)