Lockdown-flouting hairdressers investigated in Essex

A hairdresser cuts a customer's hair in Leonberg, Germany Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hairdressers are already back to work in countries such as Germany

Essex trading standards officers are "dealing with" 42 complaints of hairdressers flouting social distancing restrictions to serve clients at home.

Hairdressers and barbers are not allowed to reopen before 4 July.

Sheila Abrahams, from the Freelance Hairdressers Association, said: "Nobody dies from not having their roots touched up but people do from a virus."

It comes as a BBC Essex investigation found some hairdressers willing to cut hair during lockdown.

Anyone caught breaching the government's prohibition notice could face criminal prosecution and an unlimited fine.

"It really has set hairdresser against hairdresser," said Ms Abrahams. "The reality is we are not permitted to work and it's because of the close proximity.

"Everybody is chomping at the bit [to get back to cutting hair]. But the professional hairdressers that our organisation represents are sticking together and will not be serving clients.

A BBC Essex reporter called 50 hairdressers in the county, of which 10 said they would not arrange an illegal appointment.

However, two hairdressers offered appointments across four different days, with rates starting at £20. The others contacted did not respond.

The reporter did not take up their offers.

Essex Trading Standards said: "We deal with alleged non-compliance of social distancing by offering advice and guidance to encourage compliance.

"This has proved to be enough to achieve a positive outcome in the overwhelming majority of cases."

In May, 30 barber shops in Kent were ordered to cease trading following a separate BBC investigation.

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