Many spas and salons 'at breaking point' during #Covid-19, says Irish Spa Association
"We cannot guarantee our employees their jobs going forward."
Many Irish spas and beauty salons in Ireland are "at breaking point" due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A recent study conducted by ISME showed that five percent of businesses surveyed will cease trading altogether while six percent will be able to continue trading for up to one month.
18.5 percent of businesses will be able to survive for one to three months, while 26 percent report being able to stay trafing for between three and six months following the relaxing of restrictions in Ireland.
Anita Murray, co-founder of the Irish Spa Association, says that losses, debts and business closures are "really starting to stack up."
"The days and weeks are now becoming critical as so many businesses are at breaking point," she says.
"There are case studies from right across Europe where this vital sector has reopened and once recommended measures and guidelines are in place, the beauty spa and salon sector has posed no threat to public health.
“We are not the only industry that has been decimated by the impact of Covid-19, and while we agree that it was absolutely the right approach initially (...) we are speaking with our colleagues in Spain, Italy, Germany and France where salons and spas have reopened weeks ago, and we are a little perplexed as to why we are deemed ‘high risk’ versus our European counterparts."
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were an estimated 4,000 spas and beauty salons operating in Ireland.
According to the ISA, salons and spas contribute to an industry worth €450 million to the Irish economy every year.
Director of Elysian Brows & Beauty, Libby Murray, says that their South William Street branch was forced to close permanently due to the pandemic.
She says that although the company will continue to trade from other branches, she is aware of the difficulties social distancing will pose once salons reopen.
"We will continue to operate from our Dawson Street and Greystones locations once we reopen," she says. "However, there is such uncertainty around when and how this will happen.
"Social distancing and reduced client and staff numbers, mean our business will struggle. With the current rate of tax and low margins the industry already has, it will be even more difficult to operate successfully and almost impossible to be profitable.
‘’We cannot guarantee our employees their jobs going forward. These are incredibly stressful and uncertain times for all of us."
The ISA is calling on the government for a reduction in VAT and continued support through the Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme until spas and salons can operate with full capacity.
The association is also concerned about black market spa and salon treatments such as botox, fillers and microneedling being carried out in homes.
“Not only have customers been unable to access spa and salon services, resulting in many people adopting at-home methods, there has also been a rise in the unscrupulous black market," says ISA co-founder Peigin Crowley.
"The closures have additionally put many professionals out of work with the likelihood of many of these salons and spas being unable to re-open."
You can find out more about the Irish Spa Association here.