“Not a reasonable target”: Cosmetics businesses face months of uncertainty under Melbourne’s reopening roadmap


Chapel Cosmetics owner Claudia Chapelhow.

Chapel Cosmetics owner Claudia Chapelhow was shocked yesterday to learn businesses in her industry would be forced to remain closed until at least November 23, under a conservative reopening roadmap outlined by the Victorian government.

“I was very disappointed,” the business owner tells SmartCompany.

“I knew I wouldn’t be opening in the next couple of weeks; I didn’t expect it to be the end of November.”

Under Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ reopening plan, beauty and personal care services businesses will be forced to remain closed until at least November 23, after the state records no new cases of coronavirus for 14 days.

The case threshold, which not even Queensland or NSW would be able to meet at present case numbers, is a big risk for business owners such as Chapelhow, who first closed her business in March, before reopening briefly in June.

“You can’t base people’s livelihoods and mental health off hoping that we have 14 consecutive days of zero cases,” Chapelhow says.

“It’s not a reasonable target.”

The beauty and personal care services industry has been singled out as higher risk than broader retail operations, which will be allowed to open as early as October 26 under current arrangements.

Chapelhow says she’s flabbergasted that clothing retailers and even hairdressers can open up while her cosmetic injection service, undertaken in an ostensibly sterile environment, is excluded.

“I know there’s minimal risk,” Chapelhow says.

“I’m a registered nurse. I work in a very sterile environment with one-on-one appointments.”

Andrews has sought to quell criticism of the “steady and safe” reopening plan by stressing the need to avoid a third wave of coronavirus infections, but Chapelhow believes there’s a middle ground that would satisfy everyone, such as a limit on daily client numbers.

“I know they can’t speak to every single business owner, but it shouldn’t be considered so black and white,” she says.

Chapelhow is confident her business will be able to survive even an extended closure period, but says not everyone will be so lucky.

“We all just want to get back to work,” Chapelhow says.

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