Only opening hairdressers violates ‘principle of equality,’ warns beauty sector

Only opening hairdressers violates ‘principle of equality,’ warns beauty sector
Credit: Belga

Belgium would violate the “principle of equality” if the Consultative Committee decides a reopening is only possible for hairdressers, but not for other non-medical contact professions, according to the sector federation.

The Belgian Beauty Federation “strongly disagrees” with the idea of reopening hairdressers, but keeping others such as beauticians, massage salons and tattoo artists closed for the time being.

“The government would be breaking its earlier promise, and it would be a clear violation of the principle of equality,” it said in a press release.

During the previous Consultative Committee, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated that “hairdressers, beauticians and other non-medical contact professions” would be able to open again on 13 February, if the figures evolved favourably by 5 February.

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According to the sector, that condition has been met, and the Belgian Beauty Federation is assuming a reopening for the entire sector, not only part of it, as De Croo hinted at in the House on Thursday.

He said that it should not be seen as the start of a whole series of relaxations, should the Committee decide that “non-medical contact professions, or part of them,” can open again.

If the authorities decide not to respect the principle of equality after all, the sector will take the decision to the Council of State to challenge it, they said, adding that they hope it will not have to come to that, and that the reopening can take place “in a positive frame of mind” on 13 February.

However, even though many politicians seem to be in favour of such a reopening, experts are still advising against it, pointing out the risks of increased contact between people.

Virologist Steven Van Gucht highlighted on Thursday that it is estimated that, among hairdressers, there are about a million contacts a week, emphasising that “if you reopen the barber stores, it can’t help but have an impact.”

“From the moment you start tinkering with our formula, we do not know what will happen. To be honest, we are afraid of that.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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