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Beauticians warned of a two-year prison sentence if they break back-to-work rules

Following the Government’s announcement on July 9 that beauticians can go back to work from today but to only perform treatments ‘below the neck’, the leading body for the beauty sector the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC) has warned beauty professionals to not conduct any face treatments – or face up to two years in prison. 

In a release sent out to industry members today, BABTAC warns, “The Government’s guidance is that treatments on the face should not be carried out. Anyone carrying out these services could be found to be in breach of health and safety law for not managing the risks of COVID-19 in their business. Penalties can include significant fines or up to two years in prison.” 

The beauty sector has been pushing the government for a reopening date for the past four weeks, when it was announced that hairdressers will open before any other beauty service sector. As of today, body treatments including manicures, pedicures, body waxing can go ahead, but facials, eyebrow threading and any other treatments on the face are still off the menu because of the ‘close proximity’.

Lesley Blair, Chair of BABTAC, has been in close contact with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and shared this information with her members. Speaking to the Telegraph exclusively, Blair said: “I had many questions from the beauty sector about whether the rules around no face treatments was just guidance, or it it will be enforced.

“However they have said that the government is still not deeming it safe for us to get back to work for face treatments, so the Health and Safety Executive can crack down on anyone not following the rules. It will also mean that insurance cover won’t be eligible if anyone tries to work before the Government gives the go-ahead.”

There was anger and frustration from the beauty sector following Thursday’s announcement, as guidelines stated that while no face treatments were allowed, barbers could still trim the beards of men ‘although not completely shaven’. In a new survey, BABTAC found that a huge number of beauty businesses are at risk of closure following the government’s failure to reopen the sector quickly.

Almost half of the 3000 respondents said they were in desperate need of immediate earning to avoid the risk of closing businesses or further job losses, with 35% the sole or main income providers of their households. 

“We are pushing the government to get the decision for the rest of the beauty sector reopened quickly,” continues Blair. “But we don’t want anyone facing a prison sentence or large fines if they break the current lockdown rules, so we urge any beauticians to think twice.” 

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