EIGHT complaints concerning Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and social distancing have been made about hairdressers and barbers to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), it has been revealed.

A Freedom of Information request by the Romsey Advertiser found members of the public alerted the local authority about their concerns, following hairdressers and barbers reopening on July 4.

This comes after the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy stated the following advice to hairdressers before they reopened: "A clear visor should be worn by the person providing the service, covering the face and providing a barrier between the wearer and the customer from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking."

Now, community leaders have weighed in on the latest figures, with one councillor believing the complaints could stem from some hairdressers believing "the rules don't apply to them".

However, environmental health and housing portfolio holder, Cllr Phil Bundy, insisted TVBC take "every complaint extremely seriously", adding they will "look into each case carefully".   

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "I went back to my hairdresser a couple of weeks ago and they had done lots of preparation before reopening, so I did not feel at all insecure.

"I think they had bought lots of PPE and they were very conscious of social distancing, so I could not complain at all about it.

"However, I am quite sure there are some places that feel the rules don't apply to them."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy BaverstockCllr Dorothy Baverstock

She added some hairdressers and barbers could be "getting greedy" by using "every work station" in their store, when customers should be "socially distanced" from each other.

Cllr Alan Dowden, who represents Valley Park on the borough council, said: "Obviously there has been concern, quite rightly, because contracting the virus is in most people's minds and when they see people too close to each other it worries them.

"I wish people would stick to social distancing because the only way we get on top of this virus is by testing, particularly when schools go back in September.

"Testing will become more important than ever as we get closer to the Autumn, because if the number of cases escalate then it will be even harder to control it than last time."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Alan DowdenCllr Alan Dowden

Deputy leader for TVBC, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said: "When you consider the number of hairdressers that are across Test Valley, and the amount of customers who have rushed to the hairdressers since July 4, that seems quite reasonable."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Nick Adams-KingCllr Nick Adams-King

Mr Bundy said: "We take every complaint extremely seriously and will look into each case carefully. 

"Where action was needed from previous issues, officers gave suitable advice to the relevant businesses to ensure customers and staff are as safe as possible.

 “Our officers have also been doing regular spot checks for barbers and hairdressers across the borough and are pleased with the levels of COVID-19 compliance so far. 

"We’re grateful to businesses and residents for their patience and understanding as more organisations open their doors.”