A YORK beauty salon says it is a month from closure unless it receives further government funding - due to the strict guidelines for female cosmetic treatments.

The owners of Prept York, in Goodramgate, have said that without more financial help and a definite date when they can resume facial treatment for customers, they “fear the hard work, and hours spent building a business that has given us pride, will have been worthless”.

Owner Suzanne Swaine said: “We will have no choice but to close our salon, probably by next month, due to the huge debts built up over the last five months.”

Suzanne and her partner Jemima Lowery opened the beauty salon in 2018. The duo said that while they can perform limited treatments, the majority of facial treatments are still prohibited under government guidelines.

Suzanne added that they have spent hundreds of pounds to make the business Covid secure, but due to the “unclear government advice” have had to postpone appointments, causing anxiety and stress for the duo.

She said: “I find it very difficult to understand how it is safe for pubs, restaurants, barbers to reopen - any male-dominated activities - but it is not safe to have your brows and lash treatments in salons by therapists - who are trained to the highest level of health and safety.

“How can it be okay for a man to go to the barbers and have his beard, nasal hair and brows trimmed but it is not fine for me to perform a brow treatment on a client who would be wearing a mask. I am angry, disappointed and upset by the lack of respect the Government is showing to our industry.”

She added that while the business has received the £10,000 business grant, and bounce back loans, it will not cover overhead rent and bills to keep the company going.

She said: “I have three teenage daughters and a mortgage. I have now depleted my life savings and had no choice but to build up debt on my credit card to enable us to buy food.”

MP for York Central, Rachael Maskell, said: “There are clear rules in place as to how to maintain safe working for staff and customers.

“However, instead of taking a safety-based approach, based on risk assessment, the Government have named industries which may open or not, based on their seemingly limited understanding.

“I have met with the beauty industry in York and taken their plea to Government.

“Unless urgent action is taken, and either they and others in the same situation are allowed to return in full or the furlough scheme is extended, then we could see a collapse of the whole industry. Other industries in York like adventure play are also at risk for similar financial reasons.”

A Government spokesperson said:

“We know this is an incredibly difficult time for beauty salons, but as the Prime Minister said, they will need to remain closed until 15 August at the earliest.

“To help avoid a second wave, we have made this decision on health grounds as the highest risk of transmission is when people are in prolonged close, face-to-face contact within 2 metres. At all times we are guided by the science and it is our ambition to reopen them as soon as we can.

“Beauty therapists can access to the Government’s far-reaching package of support to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic, which includes loans, tax deferrals, and cash grants.”