Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Salon owner slams NHS app after having to close two MR.Barbers shops in Stowmarket and Diss after staff got 'pinged'




A salon owner has slammed the NHS Covid app after having to close two of his barber shops after staff got 'pinged'.

Tom Old, 31, co-owner of the MR. Barbers shops in Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Sudbury and Diss slammed the app as "a joke" after staff had to go into self-isolation.

He had to close both his Stowmarket and the Diss shop for 10 days - which meant the two salons lost more than 100 appointments between them and his teams of self-employed barbers lost hundreds of pounds of business.

Tom Old has had to close two of his barber shops after staff got 'pinged'. Picture courtesy of MR. Barbers.
Tom Old has had to close two of his barber shops after staff got 'pinged'. Picture courtesy of MR. Barbers.

"I understand the thinking behind the app but it seems like the whole reopening has been rushed, people have panicked and it has not be structured properly. The app is a really a bit of a joke," said Mr Old, who lives in Bury St Edmunds.

"One of the team at Stowmarket was pinged a week last Thursday and this was shortly followed by another in Diss. Because they couldn't be with the others, it meant we had to close the shops.

"It also meant we had to get straight on the computer that night and cancel all the appointments for the next day, the weekend and all of the past week.

"Our barbers are self employed and so this means after everything the industry has been through, it came as a real kick in the teeth that they immediately had to self isolate. It is just frustrating more than anything, and upsetting."

Mr Old has run the barbers' shops with business partner Mark Lovell for seven years.

Four staff work at the Stowmarket shop and three in Diss.

Both shops will reopen on Monday.

The NHS Covid app has sent thousand of workers across the country back home this week with government ministers insisting the guidance to self-isolate for 10 days must be followed.

"It was upsetting for the barbers who were just getting going again and looking forward to Freedom Day," added Mr Old.

"We are strong team though and keep our heads up as we have have been through a lot already with the stop-start approach to the economy over the last 18 months.

"Our fear though, is as it has already happened once, in two of our shops, it may well happened again."

Head to our business page for all of the latest news about businesses in Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Stowmarket