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As businesses close across Northern Ireland, beautician shuts doors for good

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Shutdown: Gary Monteith puts up a ‘closed’ sign at Blethers Cafe on the Cregagh Road in east Belfast

Shutdown: Gary Monteith puts up a ‘closed’ sign at Blethers Cafe on the Cregagh Road in east Belfast

Colm Lenghan/Pacemaker Press

Shutdown: Gary Monteith puts up a ‘closed’ sign at Blethers Cafe on the Cregagh Road in east Belfast

As tough new anti-Covid restrictions kicked in on Friday night, businesses across Northern Ireland were preparing to close their doors - some for the last time.

Among the firms who will not survive the second wave of business lockdown is Dunmurry beauticians Beautyboxx.

The salon's owner, Paula Duncan, posting on social media said the last six months of Covid-19 related uncertainty had hit her once-thriving operations "like a whirlwind, and had destroyed almost a decade of hard work building up the successful beauty business".

"Pre-Covid, Beautyboxx went from strength to strength, growing every year," Paula said .

"After eight-and-a-half years of hard work and commitment to a business, I never imagined to be writing a post like this and especially not under these circumstances.

"Unfortunately the events of last six months has sent the salon into a whirlwind and like most businesses, we have been closed twice, had restrictions placed upon practices and generally lots of stress and change to deal with."

But keeping the business afloat as the Covid crisis enters a new phase has proved too much, and had forced Paula to close the salon's doors for good.

Posting on Facebook, she broke the news of the closure to her customers,

"These challenges have not taken away my passion for everything beauty and nails, but have made me reconsider managing a large salon in tough times.

"I want to say thank-you to the thousands of clients who have come through the door and especially to those who have been having treatments done continuously for most of these years.

"Your loyalty has certainly not gone went unnoticed and I am so thankful."

She also thanked the staff who had helped make the business a success. "My staff deserve a huge thank-you for their hard work and commitment to the salon.

"They have been supportive and understanding, and I wish them all the luck they deserve moving forward. I shall also post where you can find each of them for those clients who would like to follow their next steps.

As the Dunmurry business announced its closure, former Economy Minister Simon Hamilton, who is now head of Belfast Chamber of Commerce, warned the latest Covid-19 lockdown may put thousands of jobs at risk across Northern Ireland.

"The Chancellor and the Government don't appear to be too keen to provide more money for what they describe as localised lockdowns, so I am really, really concerned, having talked to members over the last 24/48 hours, that this is just too far for them, this is too much," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

Belfast Chamber of Commerce represents more than 1,200 firms which have 100,000 employees in total.

Belfast Telegraph