Underground hairdressers and bootleg barber shops still operating despite ban

Most people in Britain haven’t sat in a salon chair for more than two months.

To say it’s getting hairy out here is something of an understatement.

Hairdressers, barbers and personal care businesses have been banned from opening for business in any capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic – with their close contact approach rendering the trade “high risk” for virus transmission.

Their enforced closure is set to continue for several more weeks, with July 4 being touted as the date on which haircuts can resume (depending on the continued decline of domestic COVID-19 cases).

But not all salons have sat tight during the outbreak and followed government guidelines. Some have actually continued to cut hair illegally.

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One hairdresser still operating during lockdown agreed to appear on ITV chat show This Morning on Wednesday (20 May), discussing the reasons why she felt justified in flouting the government-sanctioned regulations.

The anonymous hairdresser said she’d made the decision to avoid debt; emphasising that both her and her customers wear masks, gloves and plastic aprons during her home visits.

“Even though I’m going into their properties, I’m fully equipped and my equipment is sterile,” said the hairdresser.

“It’s no different to me going into a hospital or doctors.”

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This rogue hairdresser isn’t a lone anomaly.

Police have been forced to close down a number of businesses across the country who have been performing hair care services in lockdown using subterfuge.

A barber shop in Wolverhampton was caught after turning their shop into a mobile service last month, whilst another hair business in Warwick was swiftly told to close after attempting to open for business as usual.

One hairdresser was also found operating out of his own property in Swindon – with police confirming the businessman had “customers coming and going on a regular basis.”

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But bootleg barbers aren’t just popping up in the UK. One hair salon owner in the United States was actually jailed for a week for flat out refusing to close her business, despite a cease and desist notice.

The practice is being widely condemened by those sticking to the rules.

Ian Gilmore, from Medway Trading Standards, told the BBC: “There’s a tiny fraction that want to deliberately break the law.

“It’s not done out of naivety, it’s done for commercial advantage.”

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