29 May 2022

Covid-19 has devastating impact on hair and beauty industry in Kilkenny

Covid-19 has devastating impact on hair and beauty industry in Kilkenny

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the hair and beauty sector in Kilkenny, where there are 568 people employed in 156 hair and beauty salons. 

The Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation (HABIC) has this week written to the Government to highlight the devastating impact of the pandemic on their industry. It outlines the key supports needed to ensure the future sustainability of the sector where many businesses are challenged to remain as a viable going concern and which are further challenged by a huge increase in black market trading.

The impact on trading and the many small business in the sector throughout Ireland has been very serious. Salons and operators have not been allowed to open yet in 2021 and in 2020 were closed for 22 weeks in total, almost half of the year. The year on year comparison for 2020 against the previous years’ trading shows a stark impact of the virus.

HABIC has 2,500 members throughout Ireland and overall there are 9031 businesses in the sector. Economist Jim Power has produced a report for HABIC that highlights the impact of the pandemic on the sector and the numerous measures required to ensure it is sustained into the future.  The economic value or GDP contribution of the sector in 2019 was €2,624 million in 2019, reduced to €1,740 million in 2020. In 2019 the industry provided 30,800 jobs and 18,480 indirectly; with these numbers reduced to 27,000 direct jobs and 16,200 indirect jobs in 2020, and decreasing.

Margaret O’Rourke Doherty, CEO of HABIC, said: “While we recognise public health and safety is the priority, our sector has been disproportionality penalised.  Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and from a total of 6.8 million services, there have only been seven outbreaks identified in the sector. We have outlined a number of measures that will have the dual impact maintaining a viable sector and at the same time protecting taxpayers in the face of a burgeoning black market trade.”

“Our members account for thousands of employees with a significant presence in every town and village in Ireland who provide an essential service to the community. This is a crucial time for the sector and the communities who we provide our services to. It is essential that we are allowed to properly trade into the future,” she said.

Economist, Jim Power said:  “Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of hair and beauty services in Irish life, from a social, economic, and mental health perspective. Following the closure of these businesses in March 2020, and the subsequent varying levels of restrictions, the financial impact on the operators has been very severe, but the impact on the national psyche has been equally severe.”

There are a number of key supports required to ensure the future sustainability of the hair and beauty sectors in Ireland. 

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