"We feel forgotten" Preston salon owners appeals for more government support
Restaurants, cafes and pubs across the country have seen tables filled with the introduction of the new 'Eat out to help out' scheme but John Corrigan, owner of Alan Joyce Hair Design claims other industries have been neglected.
The hairdresser, from Walton-Le-Dale, is director of the Alan Joyce salon on Glovers Court and claims that although business was first booming when their doors reopened, many customers are now fearful of the possible re-introduction of local lockdowns.
"In the first two weeks after we had reopened it was a stampede for an appointment, but there has since been no consideration from the government," he said.
"Restaurants and cafes have the new half price midweek offer, but this new lockdown that is being talked about and seen in different parts of the country isn't doing much for people's confidence, especially with a lot of older people who take the government guidelines to the letter and are fearful about leaving their homes."
As part of the new official guidelines for hairdressers and salons, staff have had to implement strict social distancing rules and erect perspex screens, with staff wearing visors.
John claims that although the pandemic is something to be wary about, the guidelines in place will ensure that customers to his salon are in safe hands and that he has "gone above and beyond" to follow the new guidelines.
"Some of our more regular clients that we used to see every week or two weeks haven't left their house for five months because they're frightened. It is of course good that the restaurant sector is being considered with this new scheme but I think that needs to be extended to other areas of the service industry as we are starting to feel forgotten.
"I think the government thought that hairdressers would be inundated with customers and wondered what help we need, but during this lockdown people have altered the way they live their lives and it's had a negative impact on our business. Many clients aren't coming as often or have began colouring their hair at home instead so people need encouragement to know it is safe to come to salons because we wouldn't put them, or our staff, at risk."
On June 23, Prime Miniser Boris Johnson announced that hairdressing services could resume across the country from July 4 alongside other restaurants, pubs, cinemas, and hotels as part of easing the lockdown.
Since then, cases of Cornavirus has seen a significant rise in parts of Burnley, Blackburn and Greater Manchester, with health officials now worried that Preston could face a fresh coronavirus lockdown due to a spike in cases.
The Eat out to Help Out scheme introduced on August 1 offers visitors to eateries the chance to save 50% off their food and drinks bill to help give the economy a welcome boost and encourage a return to some normality, but hair salons and other businesses in the service sector aren't included in the scheme.
Similar scenes can be seen at Whitlock Barbers on Longton's Liverpool Road, with owner Musa Alkan saying he fears for the future of his business when the government support grant runs out.
For him and his wife, business has been increasingly difficult since barbers and salons were given the green light to reopen after months of closure.
He said: "For the first ten days or so it was really busy with people but since then we have been really struggling and hardly see people. We sometimes have three to four people in a day which doesn't even allow us to make enough for staff wages.
"Realistically there never used to be many barber shops nearby but just since Christmas, two new ones have opened up very close to us which has also impacted business. I think in lockdown people have got used to cutting and styling their own hair and have coped with it instead of coming out to us so we are really stuck.
"If we didn't get the government grant we would have been in serious trouble. It has kept us going but now I have worries for the future."
Musa and his partner also own The Big Fish takeaway next door - but takeaway services are also not included in the new 'Eat out to help out' scheme introduced from August 1.
"We own the fish and chip shop next door and that has also been a struggle for us. The scheme is introduced to help restaurants so it has been upsetting that they can't help takeaways like ours," said Musa.
"We are already struggling with two businesses, and it has now caused problems for us on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays when people would rather eat elsewhere."