The Allied Beauty Association has just completed a survey of 2258 beauty professionals from coast to coast on how the industry has fared since reopening under the new Covid-19 sanitation and infection control guidelines; the results raise enormous concerns about the long-term viability of the beauty industry if a second closure were to be imposed. All professional beauty care companies have now been allowed to reopen – although some services are still limited in some areas. It is estimated that the companies have experienced a very strong return to work, treating hundreds of clients who were in urgent need of beauty services. This extremely busy period is gradually slowing down and owners and workers are once again looking to the long term and are concerned about the profitability and longevity of their businesses.
1 – LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY IS IN QUESTION
Our industry is concerned about its long-term viability. In the event of a second closure, one out of every four companies fears closure or eventual bankruptcy. 12% of employers and 16% of workers would consider leaving the professional beauty sector, which would have a cumulative effect on the already quantified departures. Only a quarter of the companies surveyed are confident in their ability to recover after a second closure; another quarter wonder how long they would survive after a new re-opening.
2 – THE PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY IS SAFE FOR WORKERS AND CUSTOMERS
9 out of 10 respondents believe that the industry excels at following and exceeding remediation guidelines. An overwhelming majority believe it has created a safe and secure environment for workers and customers. 82% feel safe in the workplace and 90% believe their customers are perfectly safe when they visit a professional beauty salon.
3 – BEAUTY PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY BUSINESSES WANT TO REMAIN OPEN FOR A SECOND WAVE
75% of respondents believe that their business should be allowed to remain open for a second wave ; 30% of them stress the need for stricter application of the rules and even the need to close recalcitrant businesses in order to ensure that hygiene and infection standards are maintained in all types of businesses (home, mobile, suites, room rentals) and not only in the largest companies. The professional beauty industry has invested in making the necessary physical modifications to their businesses, moving or blocking workstations, installing Plexiglas partitions, acquiring PPE. They now face back taxes, rent, loans and other financial obligations, it can take years to get out of the hole, and now the pre-covid cushion has disappeared and a second closure can be the swan song for many.
Businesses that stay open will also guarantee their customers a safe place to go to get their beauty care done. It will also leave no market space for opportunists to set up illicit workspaces in their yards, garages, kitchens or by visiting clients without proper permits, insurance and registration, situations where it is virtually impossible for authorities to enforce health and infection control standards, as well as collect personal and business taxes, permits and fees.
LET US OPERATE
The professional beauty industry has proven its ability to perform extremely well under strict hygiene and infection control rules. One in nine workers in the industry feel they have created a safe environment for their customers, while one in eight feel safe at work. 75% of companies believe that they should be allowed to remain open in the event of a second containment cycle and ready to apply stricter rules if necessary. To reopen after containment, our industry has been presented with some of the most stringent hygiene and infection control guidelines and has risen to the challenge, often exceeding the guidelines and ensuring a safe environment for clients and workers alike. No epidemics have been associated with our sector to date. For these reasons, in the event of a second period of containment, we are convinced that the industry does not need to shut down completely as was the case with the first series of closures.
ABA Canada calls for a dialogue with provincial and national health authorities to plan the appropriate second wave response for the professional beauty industry, ensuring that guidelines, enforcement, targeted assistance programs and operating restrictions protect consumers and workers while ensuring that companies are not forced into bankruptcy, leaving its professionals free to operate once the pandemic is contained.