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As we entered the final days of 2020, I knew absolutely and wholeheartedly that as the clock struck midnight and we tipped into 2021, my usual exuberance as I call out the words, “Happy New Year” (this year to whomever government’s COVID restrictions allow me to be with), would be bolstered with an exponential level of both desire and hope for it to genuinely be so. And, I have no doubt these were sentiments shared amongst us all.
Salons are keenly looking forward to the new season and
an opportunity to return to a consistent sense of normality.
After the unbelievable challenges of 2020, the New Year must surely be the right time to focus forward on 2021 and beyond. Of course, the horrors of 2020 will not be forgotten any time soon; not least because we are clearly not yet out of the woods. Significant restrictions across the whole of the hospitality sector throughout the UK, including the prohibition of selling alcohol in pubs and restaurants in Wales (yes, really); no indoor dining or socialising with anyone outside your household; bars and clubs closed; weddings, Christmas parties and generally all social events cancelled – these have all had an impact on the footfall into tanning salons and, in fact, all so called “non-essential retail” stores. And that’s before we even mention the restrictions on travelling abroad to find some much needed winter sun!
So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that salons are keenly looking forward to the new season and an opportunity to return to a consistent sense of normality. The moving in and out of lockdown, with varying restrictions depending on which country you are based in, as well as which area in which country, is a challenge to keep up with in itself! And when the boundaries within different tiers of restrictions are actually very close, temptation to bend the rules can be high. This was demonstrated recently when the media reported that two men from Glasgow in Scotland, where tanning salons are currently closed due to COVID restrictions, travelled 20 miles down the road to an area in a lower tier of COVID restrictions in order to have a tanning bed session. Obviously, blatant flouting of the rules cannot be condoned – they were caught in a police road check and both received a fixed penalty fine (can you believe that in 2020?).
But of course, the flip side to all this is that we know the adult population in the UK and across northern Europe will currently be on course to becoming vitamin D-deficient at this time of year – particularly without having had access to a summer holiday or winter holiday sunshine and indeed, tanning bed sessions!
As if we need it, further research is currently ongoing around the world to investigate the link between vitamin D and COVID-19 protection, including a project at the renowned research centre Queen Mary University in London, investigating whether correcting people’s vitamin D deficiencies over winter can reduce the risk and/or severity of COVID-19 and other acute respiratory infections.
Very importantly, governments in England and Scotland have announced that the most vulnerable members of our society will be provided free vitamin D supplements to help in the fight against COVID-19. This is undoubtedly a significant step forward in recognising the value of the sunshine vitamin to wider human health.
The ripple effect of the role that vitamin D plays in the fight against COVID-19 continues and of course, this will benefit tanning salon operators as the general public increasingly understands that UV light is the most natural source of the sunshine vitamin (I know it’s a hormone … before anyone comments!)
Happy New Year, All!
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary Lipman is Managing Director of the UK subsidary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products & spray systems. He is also Chairman of the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
Copyright 2020 ist Magazine