Hairdressers and beauticians ‘outraged’ over comments on sector’s infection rates
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Hairdressers and beauticians ‘outraged’ over comments on sector’s infection rates

Credit: Belga

Two organisations representing Belgian beauticians and hairdressers have expressed their anger in response to comments made by biostatistician Geert Molenberghs about the reported increased rate of coronavirus (Covid-19) infections in the sector.

Both the Belgian Beauty Federatie (BBF) and United Hairdressers said figures show that self-employed beauty and hairdressing specialists have similar infection rates to the national average and that they were “outraged” by comments stating otherwise.

“This is a generalised fact and the figures are not higher in contact occupations than in other jobs for which teleworking is not possible”, the organisations said, adding that they feel wronged by the biostatistician’s statements.

Molenberghs told Flemish regional television ATV that the infection rate among employed hairdressers, who work in one same salon on a daily basis, was more than double that of the general population, citing figures from the National Social Security Office and Sciensano.

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Figures do show there is a noticeable difference between the infection rates of hairdressers who are employed by one company and those who are self-employed.

Virologist Marc Van Ranst has also expressed concerns about the number of infections in hairdressers’ salons, where he said the infection rate is rising faster than among other professional groups.

“We see that the level of infections is going up among hairdressers, especially in bigger hair salons with a lot of in-house employees. Our call is simply for them to make sure that the salon is ventilated very well, then you will not have this problem,” said Van Ranst, who is not yet calling for the closure of these businesses.

“Our sectors should be congratulated for eliminating the high rates of infection we previously experienced through careful protocols and the hard work of our professionals,” the hairdressers and beautician organisations said in a joint statement.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times