‘Ludicrous’ roadmap detrimental to beauty industry
Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
SKINCO Beauty owner Sarah Holland reached boiling point on Sunday, having kept her cool since March.
The roadmap out of lockdown means beauty therapists are not able to open in regional Victoria until sometime after November 23, and when there are no new cases for 14 days across Victoria.
“I just can't comprehend it, truly, it's just unbelievable,” Mrs Holland said.
“We've had two active cases in Ararat - with a population of over 11,000 people - in six months, and we're all being punished.
“If the case numbers were somewhat higher, I wouldn't say boo. But now is the point that we need to go back to normal life, to some degree.”
Mrs Holland couldn’t bear to watch Premier Andrews’ press conference on Sunday, leaving home to digest the financial implications of extended closure.
“I couldn't watch it. I left and I went to the supermarket. I hopped in my car, I got on social media and I saw the uproar in my industry. I just thought, we need to speak up, we need to do more,” she said.
“My staff have got mortgages, I need to make sure that they've got money in their bank every week. I'll go without but I don't want my staff to go without.”
Beauty therapists come under the same award as hairdressers but cutting hair has been allowed to function since the pandemic first began.
Mrs Holland sees the decision to allow the hair industry to continue unaffected as hypocritical when the beauty industry is forced to remain shut.
“They're saying it's coming down to when you’re hairdressing you are hairdressing from behind, not face on. But I've never seen someone cut someone's fringe from behind. So that's just a joke,” she said.
“I really wonder if there were more females in government, would it be a different decision.
“Let's play a fair game here. The ball game is just ridiculous - that you can say one is opening and one's not.”
Not only will the closure mean no income, but Skinco will be ineligible for the next round of Job Keeper because the business made too much during the short period of relaxed restrictions.
With no government support whatsoever and a plan that will see beauticians shut for more than half the year in total, beauty therapists are hanging on by a thread.
Mrs Holland has joined her fellow therapists in calling on the government to reconsider the restrictions in regional areas where there are little to no active cases to prevent permanent business closures.