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Beauty salon owner Sandra Dickson can finally breathe a deep – masked – sigh of relief.
Sunday's announcement of eased coronavirus restrictions in Victoria means beauty clients will be able to remove their masks while receiving facials and other skin treatments from November 23.
Sandra Dickson, owner of Prahran beauty salon Missie CoCo. Credit:Joe Armao
"The relief is enormous, it’s huge," Ms Dickson said, adding her Missie CoCo salon in Prahran was already booked out for two weeks from the day the new rules apply.
"My phone literally hasn’t stopped all day. Emails coming through, messages on social media, text messages, phones, it’s going crazy."
Ms Dickson reopened her business in late October after the lockdown was eased but was not able to offer about 90 per cent of her services due to the mask requirement.
Since closing her doors in March, Ms Dickson said her salon had reduced staff from three employees a day to just one and all staff were working reduced hours.
"It’s not sustainable to stay open like this," she said. "We are going to remain open [for the next two weeks] because we are still able to provide treatment.
"We would have preferred for it to be started tomorrow but we’re just so happy to have a date. I think the whole industry is ecstatic."
Doncaster woman April Brodie, owner of Beaute: The Facial Destination, said she was excited to reopen but she expected a tough road ahead.
"I was delighted I finally had a date, I was disappointed it would still be another couple of weeks away," Ms Brodie said.
Ms Brodie said her rent debt had increased to more than $30,000 – on top of her existing equipment debt – due to losing about 80 per cent of her business’ income.
After spending nearly 40 years working in the industry – 23 of those as salon owner – she said she still fears the "nerve-wracking" prospect of shutting her doors permanently.
"I don’t know if I have avoided [permanently closing] yet, in time we’ll see," she said. "You’re living day by day."
Paul Zahra, chief executive of the Australian Retailers Association, said the retail community was happy about Sunday’s announcement but was still concerned for beauty and medical aesthetics businesses.
"Most of these are small businesses, and pretty much all of them have been closed for 2020," he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced further easing of restrictions on Sunday, including the removal of the border between the city and the rest of the state, opening of gyms and indoor fitness facilities and expanding limits on religious gatherings.
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