Our salon has been closed for 4 weeks now and we realise your dogs are starting to look a bit hairy! So I just wanted to post another update for our grooming customers of where we are at the moment with regards to the groomers returning to work.
5th January, as lockdown started we were grooming as per Tier 4 DEFRA guidelines, this meant we could groom for welfare reasons and allowed preventative grooming for high maintenance breeds. We were unable to offer routine grooms to low maintenance breeds, for example a bath for a wire haired terrier would have been postponed.
12th January, an update was sent out from DEFRA via CFSG stating that the guidelines had been tightened up and that only welfare grooms were allowed to be carried out for very specific reasons for example a vets referral for a skin condition or an already matted dog could be shaved down. At this time we believed lockdown would end on or around 15th February with children returning to school on 22nd February. We closed the grooming salon and furloughed all the staff with the hope that we would return to some sort of normality w/c 22nd Feb.
27th January, a government announcement stated that children would not return to school until 8th March at the very earliest. This was a disappointing set back for us as both Barbara and Debbie have young children who are currently being home schooled. It was also announced that the lockdown review initially scheduled for 15th February had been put back until 22nd February. We opened up a welfare waiting list to prioritise the dogs in the worst condition, who were already overdue and developing serious welfare issues. (We have only received a handful of requests to date so its has not been financially viable to bring any of the groomers back off furlough).
Today - we are receiving more and more phone calls and messages every day from concerned owners worried that their dogs appointment has been cancelled. Please rest assured every customer who had an appointment cancelled will be contacted as soon as we know the exact dates our groomers can return to work.
Our groomers are furloughed at the moment, Debbie and Barbara have young children at home and unfortunately Pippa has been very ill over the last 4 weeks and would have been unable to work even if we had not needed to close.
What next? Like many other industries we are awaiting the announcement on 22nd February before we can make any decisions about starting to move forward.
Hopefully we get a definite return to school date and a DEFRA announcement which means we can then start calling customers and booking dogs back in. All being well we should be able to clear through the back log of appointments quite quickly as Debbie will be back from maternity leave and all staff leave has been cancelled for March.
While we are closed there has been no financial support or grants available to us other than the furlough scheme so we will certainly not stay closed for any longer than we need to and will update customers with the next steps in due course.
Thank you for your patience in these difficult times.