After two months in lockdown and knowing other sections of the community were starting to return to some normality many in the beauty and skincare industry were wondering how long until it was their turn.
Before Sunday's announcement by the NSW Government that beauty salons could reopen on June 1, those working in the sector were starting to wonder if the day would ever come. And why people would be able to go to restaurants, cafes, public places of interest, hairdressers, schools and pubs and clubs but not be able to get a spray tan or a skin care or beauty treatment.
Among those to express concerns about how many small businesses in the industry were going under or on the cusp of not surviving the COVID-19 pandemic was Karen Meiring de Gonzalez, of Skin Correctives Wollongong and Shellharbour.
And she was caught completely by surprise last Wednesday afternoon when she was invited on short notice to be appear on national television to discuss the issue with the panbel from The Project.
But Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez was very grateful to have had a chance to be a voice for the industry in Australia. In the process she was among those to catch the ear of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who commented on just how many people in the beauty industry had been lobbying the State Government.
Just four days later Meiring de Gonzalez is preparing to open the doors of both salons on June 1 and is seeking clarifications about what Skin Correctives can and can't to.
Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said it will be strictly by appointment only and the clinics will be sanitised from the entry point right through between every client.
And they will each be asked to fill in an electronic COVID-19 health questionnaire/agreement and have a temperature check prior to entry.
"There will be strict protocols in place including wearing face shields when performing treatments," she said.
"We are still waiting to hear if there are any restrictions as today they mentioned beauty, tanning and nails.
"As a skin clinic it is difficult to know what we can do until further clarification.
"There might be restrictions that will prevent us from performing skin penetration, treatments like skin needling and other advanced modalities.
"There might be restrictions on IPL and laser treatments".
Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez clients started calling wanting to make bookings almost as soon as the announcement was made on Sunday.
"We have a huge waiting list and will just need to make adjustments if any restrictions are announced," she said.
"We are so grateful and excited to be opening again".
One good thing that has come from the coronavirus crisis is more knowledge about and support for Professional Aesthetic Industry Register (PAIR Australia) which recently formed to serve and be a voice for the aesthetic industry. And help deliver guidance material and resources on good practice and safety standards.
PAIR Australia will also maintain a registry listing members who have met minimum standards of training and education. The list will be accessible to people throughout Australia.
Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said with so many businesses doing so many different things in the sector it was a fairly fragmented industry.
PAIR was seen as one way of bring it all together and get people talking.
The COVID-19 crisis has helped it do that which means it will have a more unified and stronger voice in the future,
Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said people talk about beauticians but that is not what everyone in the sector does.
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