A Castlewellan beauty and make-up artist is seeing red over the NI Executive’s decision to close hair and beauty businesses due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
A Castlewellan make-up artist and nail technician has launched an online petition against the NI Executive’s decision to close down beauty salons and hairdressers for at least a four-week period writes Laura Barr.
Emma McLaughlin, who works from home, believes that businesses in the beauty industry should not have been forced to close on Friday (16 October).
She decided to set up the online petition to challenge the NI Executive on the matter which is very close to her heart.
Emma’s petition on change.org ‘Reopening of the hair & beauty industry in Northern Ireland’ is very close to the 10,000-signature mark it requires to be debated at Westminster.
Speaking to Down News, Emma said it was very unfair that businesses in the hair and beauty industry were told to close without any credible data or support given.
“There was no scientific evidence given to suggest that the closure of our businesses would have any impact on curbing the virus.
“Back in March when we were all told to lockdown and close our doors, everyone was terrified and there was the whole element of the complete unknown.
“And then, in July when we were informed we could re-open again all the businesses spent an absolute fortune putting safety measures in place, buying PPE and getting screens installed to make sure we were keeping our clients and ourselves safe.
“It’s not fair that the government are telling us again to close our businesses down when they told us only a few months ago we could re-open if we put these measures in place.”
Emma added that she believes it is very unfair that there are businesses still allowed to trade and remain open during this ‘circuit breaker’ which do not have safety measures in place and are not using PPE.
She hopes that after the four-week period, herself and other businesses will be able to get clients back and begin to trade again.
“With the hospitality sector being closed months ago, weddings not allowed to take place, school formals cancelled and women not having usual nights out with friends, this has all greatly impacted negatively on the hair and beauty sector.
“The whole industry has been impacted on a huge scale. People are no longer in business due to it and I’m not sure the rest of us will be able to recover.
“We all have bills to pay, like everyone else and I just don’t think our sector has been treated equally in all of this.
“The hospitality sector had the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme to give them a lift and we have had absolutely nothing from the government.
“There’s been no initiative to help our sector keep our heads above the water and it’s just not fair” Emma continued.
“A package was announced just today for the self-employed, but it has been very frustrating and stressful not knowing where your next income is coming from.
The petition went live on Sunday and Emma said she has had so much support and people getting in contact from the industry with the same emotions that she has been feeling.
If you would like to support Emma’s petition you can do so online at: