BEAUTICIANS in Chippenham are staging a protest in the town centre today (Friday) over new government restrictions they say are destroying their businesses.

They are upset that while most hairdressers and therapists are back in their salons those who specialise in lashes and brows are still prevented from working.

Lash technician Alexandra Gillespie, who is a single mum with two young children, has not been able to work since March and did not qualify for any government grants.

She said: “It is really unfair how further last minute restrictions on the beauty industry are stopping us from working.”

She and fellow beauty workers will be by the Buttercross from 10am (Friday, August 7) and hope that clients and shoppers will turn out in force to support them.

Alexandra, 33, who lives in Chippenham, set up her business Amber’s Lashes and Brows two years ago.

She is calling on other people working in the industry in roles such as beauticians, aestheticians, lash technicians, brow artists and make up artists to join in. She said: “ If you’ve been affected by the restrictions on the beauty industry stand up and do something about it.

“All the business owners who are venting on Instagram, stand up and do something about it. We’re all in this together and we have a right to protest our working restrictions.”

She and other beauticians affected are angry that the Government has not given them a date when they can return, and have only been told it will be after August 15.

Alexandra said: “Everything we do is very, very safe. We are all trained and know how to keep our clients safe.”

The government allowed hairdressers and some beauty salons to open on July 4 but a number of treatments were still banned. Such ‘high risk settings’ include close contact beauty services, such as facials and eyebrow threading.

The government guidelines say: “No treatments are to be provided on the face until government advice changes.”

The Chippenham beauticians have invited their MP Michelle Donelan to attend the protest but as yet have not had a response.

They are particularly unhappy as originally Boris Johnson indicated they would be able to open last Saturday, August 1.

But during the Prime Minister’s coronavirus update two days earlier, it was announced that the government has postponed the reopening of ‘higher risk settings’ until August 15 at the earliest.

He said: “We should now squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control”.

Millie Kendall, chief executive of the British Beauty Council, said: “I am incredibly disappointed by this news, and these last minute announcements are devastating for our sector. This will further impact us financially and morally.”