News of another stage three lock down has once again rocked Victorian businesses, however this time around they feel a little more prepared.
Gyms and other recreational studios had opened for a mere two weeks before having to close their doors again.
There is also the question from people across the beauty industry who are questioning why hairdressers are permitted to continue trading despite having to be in close proximity to their customers.
Neos Kosmos spoke to professionals across the two industries to see how they will fare with ‘lock down 2.0’.
Sia Psicharis – Director of Beautyologist
It is a setback, undeniably so. We were fully booked, we have had to cancel all those clients for a second time. We’ve had to redirect our team to other areas of the business to keep their minds productive and active, because it is the second time and it does take a toll.
We’re all therapists, so for us I’ve had to get the girls to do retail and and putting our skin consultations online, so we’re still in contact with our clients to be able to support them at home. It has been an interruption, but a necessary one, but it’s unfortunate that it’s the same businesses that have to close again.
I’ve been on Carlisle Street for 13, 14 years, we are a community and we are like family and people have been extremely supportive. I’ve had clients bringing in flowers and coffees and vitamins and all kinds of things for us.
Obviously it’s been really frustrating for them as well, because the skin being the biggest organ of the body, we feel that skin is essential. We’ve got clients that are under a lot of stress and a lot of pressure who have psoriasis, dermatitis and all kinds of skin conditions and we can’t do the treatments on them.
I don’t think it’s fair but I wouldn’t want any business to be going through what we’re going through. I’m happy that people in our industry, in hair can be open. It would be terrible for all of us to be closed for the general public. At least people have something open to help them feel good.
We now have the tools to do other things, we were forced to re-educate but at the same time we are mainly service providers. There have been many silver linings through this, it’s opened many doors especially in retail and it’s also assisted me in changing my product offerings. I’ve been able to source innovative Australian products, which is exciting. So now it’s putting back into our community and into our Australian manufacturing.
I’m more prepared than the first time around and this time we know the length of time.
I think it’s really important to reach out to any businesses that are out there because there are a lot of people who are self employed and in the same same situation I am. It’s really important to create a network of people who understand your position and to not go at this alone. It’s taken it’s toll on all of us because we have the responsibility of not only ourselves, but our teams so it is very hard. It’s really important to have a group of people you can network with and get you through this time.
Gerry Pantz – CEO Soma Lasers Australia
“We can’t make any income at all from anywhere. The government is trying to help but it’s not helping enough, I missed out on the $10,000 grant. So it’s been extremely hard. It’s hard to know that hairdressers can be open but the beauty industry can’t be open. No one knows what’s going on.
It effects us a lot because we have purchased equipment for customers and the customers have every right to not pay it now so we’re in quite a lot of trouble. We’re stuck with purchased equipment, waiting in our storage and so our clients can say ‘we’re not going to pay for it because we’re in lock down now’ and we’ve already made that payment waiting for the customer pay the rest of the money.
To be honest, I was preparing for it. I could see what was going on, I could see the cases rising so I was prepared for another lock down. We just have to follow the rules and hope for the best outcome. I can’t say we’re all in the same boat because there are people getting payments from the government but when we submitted our forms there was a glitch in the system and so our forms didn’t go through and when we had told them what happened they were saying ‘oh well bad luck’. They’re treating people unfairly as well, there needs to be more compassion.
For the next six weeks we’re just going to do some background work, there’s always work to do in our industry. The only thing is that we’re not getting in any money to support what we want to do. I’m just trusting that things will get better.
A lot of businesses are shutting down, I have a clinic too. We were open and people weren’t coming in because of fear. We were still paying wages and outgoings. I deal with a lot of beauty therapists and a lot of them are closing their businesses. I get a lot of people ringing me and crying.
This has to be sorted fairly across the board, they can’t make decisions as they go. If you’re touching someone in a hairdressing salon, you’re not wearing gloves. When we’re treating someone we’re wearing masks and gloves. So I don’t understand how they can shut down beauty and not shut down hair salons. It’s not fair on them and it’s not fair on us.
Hopefully we can get through this stronger and better.
Maria Alexiadou – Karate Victoria Board Secretary & Athlete
We’d been responding to the restrictions to our members. We’ve been having meetings with Vicsport and Sport and Recreation Victoria. They’ve been really great in keeping us updated. Obviously they don’t update us ahead of time because because government makes the decision and then filter down to all the departments and then all the departments need to interpret the rules as they pertain to each of the industries. We’re a non-for-profit organisation so that brings another level of difficulty to the situation because you want to keep everybody informed but everybody’s going through their own personal situations and their own full-time work outside of the organisation.
In terms of our clubs it’s like every other business, it’s had a big impact on their businesses. Obviously their memberships are down because of the restrictions and people have lost their jobs and so forth. But our clubs have done really great job at keeping their members engaged and made a quick adjustment to the online world. So a lot of them are using all sorts of platforms to run virtual classes which is great because it’s given athletes and members the opportunity to keep active and engaged with their clubs and friends. A lot of it is driven by the enjoyment of going and seeing their friends as well.
There is an understanding of why we have to go through this. There’s no use sitting there blaming.
A lot of our clubs had opened back up and so a lot of them had to put in a lot of work to make sure that hygiene and rules around how to best practice and limit the spread of the virus. Their sessions were a little bit shorter to allow for cleaning between sessions and social distancing was put in place. Having to close up again and going way back has been quite a disappointment. Our members have coped with it really well.
Having the inconsistencies where a hairdresser can still cut hair but a club can’t run their sport is extremely frustrating. Especially when training with a coach can be done at a distance and there’s no contact between them, I think that’s really hard to understand as a sporting organisation. Then I guess if you’re putting on your ‘Premier’s hat’, having to deal with a whole lot of other issues like the macro economic situation, is also difficult.
Ange Kounelis – Studio Owner KX Pilates
People are crying, but we’ve received some beautiful emails and flowers, they miss us. They understand we’re no longer going to be part of the routine but on the other end we know that we’re wanted, that we’re needed and that we’re part of a community and it’s a nice feeling to be part of that.
We had just gotten back into the swing of things.
Obviously we’re going to need some help for rental assistance. People haven’t been coming to the Oakleigh studio as much as the rest, but I was more afraid that people weren’t going to have the money to come back. What I saw though when we first re opened was quite an amazing response. I taught of the last couple of days and our clients said ‘we can’t wait to come back’ so I’m quite convinced that business will be fine.
Things like rent is going to be concerning, JobKeeper has been helping us out but we’ll have to see what happens.
Not to be funny but my sister’s a hairdresser and I thought ‘how is hairdressing an essential service?’ unlike fitness where it helps keeping up mentally and the effect it has on people not having that one outlet. It’s not only good for your body because we’ve created communities in our studios and people are missing that feeling. That’s been hard and that’s when I see industries like hairdressing I don’t see it as an essential service. I can go with my grey hairs and long eyebrows and nails, but this impacts your mental health.
I don’t know what the future holds. Back when we first reopened I was a bit anxious wondering if people were going to come back but having reopened, the feeling in the studio has been great and how people have responded they’ve realised that it’s an expense in their life they’re willing to pay and they can’t describe the value in the work out that’s been provided and bringing that sense of belonging. It feed outs, especially to our trainers and the people who work with us, it’s so nourishing to know that people get so much from us as well.
All of the packs are going to be put on hold and put on hold. Extra time will be added so that they can use their classes in future with ease. We’ve had about 200 missed calls. We’ve already got the plans in place from round one and did some live classes.