A BEAUTY salon owner said she faced losing thousands of pounds after her industry was given less than 24 hours to react to changes to coronavirus-related rules.

Tabitha Wilkinson, who runs Beauty by Tabitha in St John’s, was among those affected by last-minute rule changes forcing her to scrap long-awaited plans to offer facial treatments.

Salons scrambled to cancel appointments after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announced on Friday (July 31) that he would be postponing some easing of lockdown restrictions from August 1 amid fears of a second wave of the virus.

Mrs Wilkinson said the sudden changes announced on Friday meant she had to put a member of staff back on furlough after immediately losing a whole day of appointments.

She said: “A member of my staff was in on Friday on training and getting ready for Saturday and then we heard the news which meant we had to cancel all of the appointments and I just had to put her back on furlough because I just can’t afford it right now.”

The salon had to cancel around 20 bookings on Saturday which means thousands of pounds could be lost.

“It was just a nightmare,” she said. “We were fully booked and [the changes] cleared the whole diary. Everybody has been waiting ages for these facial treatments but what can you do. We managed to build it back up a little bit but we lost a hell of a lot of business and I just didn’t have the time to try and claw it back to fill the gaps.

“As I do microblading we were set to take a lot of money this weekend, which we really do need in the business, so having to move those appointments was a really big hit on the business and it could be the same for at least a couple of weeks. We’ve rebooked the appointments but I’m just really nervous that it is going to continue.”

Hayley Zikoude, manager of Aphrodite Hair and Beauty Salon in Trinity Street, said all of the beauticians in the salon were self-employed and the last-minute changes to lockdown rules meant they were unable to work despite weeks of preparation.

“Obviously [the changes] had a massive effect on the girls who work in the salon. They are all self-employed and my father, he owns the salon, so obviously has been affected also because he’s not receiving any rent.

“I think it’s very unfair as well because they would have been very well protected especially in comparison to some other places in the city centre, particularly the pubs.”