A BARBERSHOP owner fears for his livelihood as he will not be able to claim on his insurance if the Government shuts down businesses due to coronavirus.

Alex Burt, director of Teddy Edwards Barbershops in Goldstone Villas in Hove and Dyke Road in Brighton, said he and other small businesses are at risk because Covid-19 has not been added to insurance companies’ lists of diseases which claims can be made against.

The 43-year-old said: “Last week I thought it would be prudent to check with the insurance company.

“I wanted to see what we would be able to claim against if the Government were to enforce closures because of the virus.


“I contacted my broker and they said although the Government has declared the coronavirus to be a ‘notifiable disease’ it has still not been put on my insurance company’s list.

“They said this goes across the board for insurance companies, so loads of small businesses are not protected.”

Alex said his insurance company offers business interruption cover for a range of diseases, but coronavirus is not included in their policy wording.

On March 5, a statutory instrument was made into law that adds Covid-19 to the list of “notifiable diseases”, which requires all cases to be reported to Public Health England.

However Alex said insurance companies have not been forced to add the virus to their policies by the Government.

He said: “It’s not that I expect the Government to protect us – they have bigger fish to fry.

“But with the insurance companies, I think it’s pretty despicable.

“I had an update from my broker yesterday that we are still not protected and I’m worried.

“You put your trust in insurance companies and you pay them so that in the event of something bad happening you’re protected, but in this situation we’re not. It’s so bad.

“This goes for salons, beauty therapists, dog groomers, gyms – all kinds of small businesses are going to be at risk.”

Alex, who has worked in the barber industry for 25 years, said it has been an “amazing journey” building up his business.

He said: “I’ve always barbered in Brighton and I used to be one when it was an uncool job. I’m from a hairdressing and barbering background.

“I opened my first shop in Seven Dials in 2013 and it was just me working there for the first six months.

“The business just grew and grew. We have struck a nerve with our community and are notoriously busy for a barbershop.

“We’re all about supporting small businesses too – that’s part of Brighton’s identity.”

Alex fears if he is forced to close because of coronavirus and cannot claim on his insurance, his staff will also be affected.

He said: “My staff are all self-employed and they have families to support and rent to pay. This goes beyond my needs. I have always really tried to look after my staff.”