Hair and beauty salons could stay closed for six more months, with Government scientists unable to find a safe way for them to reopen.
Experts believe it is impossible to carry out haircuts and beauty treatments, without increasing the risk of spreading the virus.
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is currently working on how the UK would cope if lockdown restrictions were slowly eased up.
However, senior goverment figures believe hairdressers, beauty and nail salons will have to remain closed for as long as the epidemic is still going, which is projected to be throughout the summer.
Ministers and public health officials have warned that lifting the restrictions too soon could trigger a “second wave” of the outbreak.
One senior government source said: “People’s hair is going to get pretty long. We’re all going to end up looking like Captain Caveman by the end of this.”
Many hair and beauty salons could go bust if they are forced to remain closed for another six months.
Most hair, nail and beauty workers are freelance, which means they cannot apply for the Government’s furlough scheme that pays 80 percent of a person’s earnings.
While a different scheme is set to launch in June, self-employed workers will only have Universal Credit as a means of support until then.
Ministers are said to have been very keen for salons to reopen, for the sake of the businesses as well as the general public.
One insider said there would be “a positive impact on morale if people can get a haircut and feel a bit more normal”.
The lockdown has seen people having to cut their own hair, ask family members to give them a trim or simply letting their hair grow long.
The National Hair and Beauty Federation CEO Hilary Hall said: “The primary concern of our members is when can they start operating safely again, for themselves as well as their clients, rather than when they can reopen. There are real dangers when you have such close contact.”