Whistleblower Edinburgh beautician calls out salons offering banned treatments

A salon owner has criticised other beauticians in Edinburgh for ‘flouting’ government guidelines and putting clients at risk.

A salon owner has criticised other beauticians in Edinburgh for ‘flouting’ government guidelines and putting clients at risk.

Justine Mitchell, owner of Chamomile Sanctuary in the West End, fears that the whole industry will be closed down if rules continue to be flouted.

While beauty salons have been allowed to reopen since Wednesday, July 22, face coverings remain mandatory for staff and clients. Only services that can be performed while wearing masks such as manicures and pedicures are allowed.

Women's Enterprise Scotland. Justine Mitchell (WES Ambassador, “Chamomile Spa”). For more information contact Gaynor Simpson (WES) on 07790104073, [email protected] . Pic free for first use relating to WES. © Malcolm Cochrane Photography +44 (0)7971 835 065 [email protected] No syndication No reproduction without permission

Under the current government guidance facials cannot be carried out as this would require coverings to be removed.

Ms Mitchell was shocked when numerous customers told her that they had been able to receive facials at other salons across the city.

She said: “I don’t think there can be this amount of confusion over the guidelines, it was written in black and white. They stated quite clearly that it is mandatory for facial covering to be worn in beauty salons and there is no way to do a facial without removing face covering.”

The 51-year-old phoned 15 different businesses in Edinburgh pretending to be a client booking a facial.

She said: “Every salon except one offered me an appointment and when I inquired about whether I would be able to take my face covering off in the salon they said that that would be fine.

“I even asked about the specific guidelines around removing face covering and they said that it would be no problem at all.

“My business is clearly in the minority by not offering facials and following guidelines. I don’t think it reflects well on the beauty community at all.”

Ms Mitchell contacted the Scottish Government and the Edinburgh City Council to double-check the guidelines. Both confirmed in writing that failure to wear a face-covering is a criminal offence with the potential for a fixed penalty notice to be issued to the individual if the law is not adhered to.

She said: “The most frustrating part is the onus is on the client to keep the mask on as if the client removes their mask at an appointment it is the client, not the salon that is committing the offence and is liable.”

Ms Mitchell continued: “I have a huge concern that the whole beauty community could be closed down and everyone will be penalised. Look at what’s happening in Aberdeen.”

She is also concerned that if businesses continue to flout the rules then it becomes more likely that either a client or therapist will contract Covid-19.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We don’t want any business to remain closed, or open with restrictions in place, for a day longer than is necessary but public health is paramount.

“We understand that the beauty sector is keen to welcome all their customers back but we know that close, face-to-face contact continues to present significant risk so premises must take all reasonable measures to adhere to physical distancing and retail sector guidance.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director