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It is with great pleasure and indeed, relief, that I can report the fantastic news that since the last issue of IST, tanning salons are now re-opened throughout the UK and Ireland! Having said that, there are a few areas that have, unfortunately, been put back on lockdown following a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and literally, only a couple of weeks after lockdown was eased; but once these are back under control, it will be business as usual there, too.
The response from tanning bed consumers has been fantastic and they have totally embraced the new safety regimes in-salon, which have included appointment systems, regular hand-sanitising, face coverings (currently only in England and Scotland and obviously, not whilst tanning!) and of course, social distancing.
There’s no doubt that many salons, as with all other business sectors, have been hard-hit by the lockdown but for our industry, this has been further exacerbated by it taking place during key months of the tanning season. Nevertheless, early indicators are that the rush back to salons and busy appointment books and lots of “walk-ins” will go some way toward helping re-balance the scales.
Hearing the buzz in the salons from staff and customers has been both refreshing and rewarding following the overwhelming experience of lockdown. Of course, whilst it was an experience I hope we never have to repeat, I always try to find a positive in any negative situation. And there is no doubt the resultant renewed enthusiasm, commitment and determination of tanning salon operators to get back on track post-lockdown has really been quite amazing and indeed inspiring.
Going forward, I think it will be interesting to see whether and how our industry can support a fact identified within a growing wealth of scientific study evidence that connects responsible UV exposure and an enhanced immune system via the natural production of vitamin D. This may prove to be a bittersweet pill for our opponents to swallow and so, I have some reservations as to whether the relevant authorities will readily embrace this reality and opportunity; but it is certainly one for the taking.
Wellness is a lifestyle approach that has gained credibility in recent times and I suspect will continue to do so as we all need to adapt to a new “normal.” As part of this active process of becoming aware of and making choices that support a healthy and fulfilling life, I suggest there’s no doubt that responsible tanning has a role to play, not only from a visual and social perspective of the fact we all look better with a tan, but equally from the inner benefits that sunshine has on our mental and physical wellbeing.
I am not, of course, suggesting that there is any need to change from our core focus of cosmetic tanning – that will always remain our staple business. But industries evolve over time and the indoor tanning industry is no exception. We have already seen significant changes over the last decade or so and I suspect that in years to come, 2020 will be recognised as a further cornerstone in the professional progression of our fabulous industry.
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.
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