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26th Mar 2021

Menus for black market beauty treatments shared widely across WhatsApp groups

Salons will likely remain shut until mid-summer.

Menus for black market beauty treatments are being shared widely across WhatsApp groups as hairdressers and salons likely face another couple of months without being permitted to reopen.

At-home treatments have been prevalent throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but the past few months have seen a sharp increase in the number of people seeking out so-called black market businesses.

According to the Irish Spa Association, menu items are being exchanged across WhatsApp groups along with pricings and home addresses. The group says that contact details for workers are being “treated like black market goods,” and that there are already significant waiting lists for many at-home treatments.

The ISA’s Anita Murray says that it is “no surprise” that clients are turning to such “word of mouth” services given the lack of clarity around the country’s Living With Covid plan.

“Business owners are at breaking point now,” she says. “Our sector was closed on December 24th 2020, and as we head into April with no hope or clarity on a reopening timeline, it comes as no surprise that people are at the end of their tether, they are very angry and very frustrated.”

The ISA has asked the government for increased supports for the beauty industry, including commercial rent supports, a VAT reduction, and an extension of the wage subsidy scheme.

The group’s Peigin Crowley explains that many workers are struggling to make their mortgage repayments and that they are “bewildered” as to why the beauty industry is “not allowed to open with safety protocols in place.”

“The industry invested heavily and was widely acknowledged as a safe setting but it now sits idle throughout the country, while debt and commercial overheads continue to stack up,” she says.

“It is no longer acceptable. These treatments are happening anyway, and the demand will be even greater once the good weather begins.”

It was reported yesterday that businesses such as hairdressers and salons will most likely not be able to reopen until at least mid-summer. 

A government source told the Irish Mirror: “I’m afraid they’re off the table for now, until mid-summer really. They are not in the running at all for next Tuesday’s announcement.”