Confusion reigns for dog groomers, boarders and walkers in England as they await further guidance in the wake of the announcement of new lockdown restrictions at the weekend.
Even trade and official bodies such as the Pet Industry Federation (PIF) and local councils were left scrabbling for more information to give to members and businesses.
PIF said on its Facebook homepage: “Following the Government’s announcement last night about a new national lockdown from Thursday, we are currently seeking clarity about how this affects pet businesses. The government has only announced headlines so far, and we await more detailed guidance.”
Other pet industry professionals went looking to their regulators at the local council for information, but they were equally as stumped.
Swindon Borough Council told one grooming business that it wanted to wait to give the correct information rather than just guess: “We are still awaiting clarification as to what the new National Restrictions will mean for animal-related businesses,” a spokesperson said.
This led to opposing views within Wiltshire the town, with Lovecharm Dog Groomers saying: “Following the announcement of a second lockdown I would like to assure you that I am remaining OPEN to treat your dogs.
“I am following guidelines from the government, PIF and Swindon Borough Council.”
Fetch Groom, also in Swindon, said: “Things are still confusing on what position dog groomers should be taking.
“We take the view that as a non-essential business we will have to close for until December 2. We are just trying to get as many of you groomed before Thursday.”
Doggy day care centres and catteries also had a mixed view of the new rules.
Paws Doggy Day Care in Ely, Cambridgeshire, said: “As we go into another lockdown I just wanted to reassure you that Paws will remain open. We will continue to follow guidelines. We wear facemasks and use sanitizer at all times.”
While Norfolk Dog’s Day Inn said: “Thank you for the responses received so far, as things stand we hope to remain open unless guidance or demand changes. We will, of course, keep you informed, please remember to wear face masks, sanitise hands and not come beyond the first gate with your dogs.”
One cattery owner was left in despair by the news. Liz Burman, of Lea Wood Cattery, in Lincolnshire, winner of PIF UK Cattery of the Year 2015/16, said: “My business relies on the tourism industry and we know how that’s going…feeling very deflated and just hoping to hang on until things can pick up. Looking for a job to tie things over.”