BEAUTY salon owners say they were “crippled” by the Government’s last-minute decision not to allow them to carry out facial treatments.

Beauticians were all set to welcome back customers for services such as eyebrow and eyelash treatments on August 1 but, just one day before, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulled the plug, announcing that the easing of restrictions would be postponed for “at least a fortnight”.

The lockdown easing did go ahead a fortnight later on Saturday (August 15), but beauticians said the delay had a big impact.

Aimee Howard, owner of Beautifique in Bank Crescent, Ledbury, said: “It has crippled me as 70 per cent of the shop’s revenue comes from facial treatments and with the Government information, I was unable to do them.

“We put lots of things in place to make it safe, including screens over the couch, cleaning between every client and PPE.

“I feel the Government isn’t taking the industry seriously, not realising just how clean and hygienic we are. I’m left feeling very disappointed about the whole thing.”

While many beauty salons in England were allowed to reopen from July 13, restrictions remained in place for “particularly high-risk services”.

Treatments close to the face such as facial waxing, eyebrow and eyelash treatments and make-up application were deemed high-risk and not allowed as part of the initial opening.

Beauty salons had been told these services would be allowed to resume from August 1, but Mr Johnson said the changes would then be postponed for “at least a fortnight”.

Critics of this decision say it was sexist that barbers were allowed to offer beard grooming but beauticians could not perform facial treatments for women.

Amy Card, who owns Pure Emporium – an award-winning health, beauty and hair salon in Hereford’s Grandstand Road, said it was a “huge disappointment and business setback” when the Government made the U-turn.

“We had already been open for two weeks at this stage and had a large amount of clients eager to join us when we could start offering treatments on the face again,” said Ms Card, who founded Pure Emporium in 2013.

“Our appointment diary was turned upside down within a couple of hours with more than 80 per cent of our treatments being cancelled due to this decision.

“It is and always will be my utmost priority to continuously adhere to Government guidelines and ensuring things are as safe as they possibly can be before going ahead with any easing of restrictions.”

Having been given the green light to reopen on Saturday, she added: “This is such brilliant news to now be able to accommodate our loyal and lovely clients after five months, such a relief.”