A cosmetics company is refusing to give beauty treatments to NHS workers who treat coronavirus patients, it has been claimed.
Benefit Cosmetics offers eyebrow and eyelash treatments in their standalone stores and in chains such as Boots, John Lewis and House of Fraser.
Beauty salons, hairdressers and nail bars were allowed to reopen on Monday as part of an easing of lockdown restrictions, which also included non-essential shops and pub beer gardens.
However for one NHS worker her hopes of having her eyebrows waxed were dashed when she admitted she works with Covid patients.
She tweeted on Tuesday: “I’m a health care assistant for my local hospital. On Monday I had a brow appointment at my local Benefit store in Reigate and with an itchy face was so looking forward to it. When I got there they asked me screening questions so I was honest and said that I worked in a hospital and had looked after Covid patients and patients with Covid symptoms.
“The girl excused herself and went to speak to an older blonde who was quite loud and rude, saying I should have called to tell them and acting like I’d wasted their time. They tried their manager and head office but no joy so the nice girl apologised but said they couldn’t do the wax. As I left the woman and her 2 teens not wearing masks whilst touching.”
The company confirmed on social media that it has a “blanket policy” is in place which is needed to “protect staff and other customers”.
And on its website it states: “You will be asked a series of questions to determine whether it is safe to carry out a service.
“This will protect both you and our teams. Unfortunately, for the safety of our customers and employees, we will not be able to carry out a service if you have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 14 days.”
Scores of furious healthcare workers have taken to social media to criticise the policy and are urging NHS staff to boycott the company.
One tweeted: “I hope none of my NHS colleagues were hoping to go to a @BenefitUK brow bar now restrictions have eased, cos they’re refusing to take clients who work for the NHS in case they’ve been working with patients with Covid. There is such a thing as PPE.”
A second said: “This nurse won’t be buying another Benefit mascara tomorrow as planned ….. disappointing.”
“Benefit cosmetics are refusing service to NHS workers. The very people who have been on the frontline of this pandemic and instead of rewarding them they treating them like lepers. Don’t shop there, they are an absolute bloody disgrace” a third woman tweeted.
A woman posted on the company’s Facebook page: “Won’t be using your services or products again due to the discrimination of NHS staff( probably the safest clients out there due to testing and vaccination) , who knows where your workers have been and been mingling with! Will be advising others to go elsewhere too.”
Current guidance from Public Health England (PHE) states that a healthcare worker wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) does not count as a COVID exposure if they are caring for a suspected or confirmed case of the virus.
Last December a critical care nurse said she was turned away for an eyebrow wax at a Benefits Cosmetics counter in Glasgow ‘because she works with Covid patients ‘.
Her friend took to Facebook to slam the ‘disgusting’ treatment of her pal who has been saving lives on the frontline.
She said: “A critical care nurse who’s out saving lives and she gets refused an eyebrow wax and left ridiculed and humiliated in front of a shop full of people!
“Absolutely disgusting treatment while she’s visibly upset to advise her that they had to cancel another nurse earlier as it’s their protocol.”
In a statement on social media, the company said: “The company policy that is currently in place means that all customers must participate in a screening provided by the company ahead of their service
“Unfortunately, anyone who fails the screening will not be able to have their service completed by our Benefit Teams and this does mean that anyone who has come into contact with anyone suspected of having Covid or its symptoms will be refused the service.
“This is to try to protect both our Customers and our Staff and screening is also performed on every staff member before the start of each day to ensure the highest level of health and standard is adhered to at all times.
“The last thing we want to do is refuse any of our customers and their appointments either on our counters or our Brow Bars, and whilst we completely appreciate the position this puts you and your fellow key workers in, it has to be our policy for the time being and it has to be a blanket policy that is consistent for all Benefit customers.”
The Mirror has contacted Benefit Cosmetics for a comment.