Melbourne business owners have welcomed a decision by the Victorian government to walk back a plan to force beauty and cosmetics services businesses to remain closed until late November, in what is being dubbed a win for common sense.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced changes to Melbourne’s reopening roadmap over the weekend that brought the timeline for all retail businesses in line with each other, after a week of criticism about its ‘gendered’ reopening plan.
Previously, beauty and personal care services businesses were being asked to remain closed until at least November 23, when no new coronavirus cases are recorded for two weeks, while all other retailers — including hairdressers — were told they could reopen up to a month earlier.
Now, all retail businesses in Melbourne will open at the same time, under a “third step” that requires fewer than five cases to be recorded on average over a two-week period, from at least October 26.
Katelyn Wheatley, owner of Melbourne-based Laser Skin & Body, welcomes the move.
Wheatley started an online petition last week to criticise Andrews over the initial version of the roadmap, arguing it singled out beauty and personal care services businesses from others in the retail industry without providing a “science-based explanation”.
The plea gained more than 20,000 signatures within a week, up until this weekend when the government caved.
Under the changes, procedures that cannot be done without a face mask, such as face tattoos, will still be banned.
“The decision should have occurred months ago, and the failure to do so has cost many people their businesses and livelihoods,” Wheatley tells SmartCompany.
“Given that clients are now required to wear masks, the announcement is cautious and challenging, limiting the range of treatments we can provide in a very significant way. While it is a challenge, we accept that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution as we slowly track through COVID restrictions.”
“As new case numbers continue to drop, we do look forward to the lifting of the requirement that our clients must wear masks, but we accept that this requirement may remain in place for technicians for some time yet.”
Andrews said during a press conference on Saturday the change was made after “further consideration” was given to public health advice.