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Irish beauty brand facing serious backlash over launch of Belfast ‘mega store’ – after drawing huge crowds

A host of celebrities and influencers attended the controversial event

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Irish beauty brand, BPerfect Cosmetics, is facing serious backlash over the launch of their ‘mega store’ in Belfast.

On Thursday, the brand’s founder Brendan McDowell was joined by a host of celebrities and influencers as they opened their new flagship store in CastleCourt Shopping Centre.

Former EastEnders actress Jacqueline Jossa was there to celebrate the launch of her tan collaboration with BPerfect, and brand ambassadors including Louise McDonnell, Stacey Marie, Ellie Kelly, Holly Boon, and MMMMitchell also attended.

Ahead of the launch, BPerfect and their ambassadors invited people to attend the store’s opening on Thursday evening.

In posts shared on social media, the brand asked attendees to respect social distancing measures, or else they would be “asked to leave”.

But before the store even opened it’s doors, crowds started to build outside the shopping centre – sparking fears over the spread of Covid-19.

In the last 24 hours, 934 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Northern Ireland – the highest recorded number in a single day so far.

In response to the backlash, a spokesperson for BPerfect Cosmetics said the queue was “strictly policed” by security inside.

They also said they “made numerous public pleas” for people to respect social distancing guidelines “at all times”.

Many felt the event was poorly timed, with internet users slamming a “party bus” that stars were seen on.

Some of BPerfect’s brand ambassadors arrived to the store opening on a double decker bus – a DJ also joined them on the bus blaring music, and it wasn’t clear if any social distancing was taking place.

Once they were in store, some ambassadors were seen not wearing masks – but in replies to customers, the brand’s Instagram account stated that masks were only taken off to record promo videos.

Over the past few months, many brands have cancelled planned parties, and have hosted makeup launches on Zoom in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

This has left many people baffled over BPerfect’s decision to host an in store launch, especially as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Northern Ireland as well as in the Republic of Ireland.

See how people are reacting to the event on Twitter below:

In response to the backlash, a spokesperson for BPerfect Cosmetics told the Belfast Telegraph: “Before, during and after the opening of our new BPerfect Megastore, we made numerous public pleas to anyone shopping with us on our opening night to ensure they adhered to all social distancing guidelines at all times.”

“This included asking everyone to be personally responsible for social distancing in the outdoor queue, wearing a mask when indoors, sanitising their hands and following all instructions from security.”

They also said the queue was “strictly policed” by security inside the shopping centre, and masks were distributed to anyone not in possession.

“We personally employed teams of staff to remind the queue of the rules throughout the evening. We would like to thank everyone who adhered to these rules and for the huge support on our first day of trade,” they added.

 

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A spokesperson for CastleCourt shopping centre also said: “We thoroughly examined BPerfect’s event management plans and were satisfied with the measures outlined and the focused approach taken to address public health guidelines and to promote safety advice at all times.”

“In addition, we also submitted a detailed safety plan to support the store opening with enhanced safety measures within the centre, which was approved by Belfast City Council. CastleCourt also liaised with the Police Service of Northern Ireland on its safety plan ahead of Thursday October 1st.”

“These additional safety measures included deploying 10 centre security officers stationed at various points on the ground floor to manage queues and to proactively promote social distancing at all times.”

“CastleCourt’s security team cut off the queue once capacity had been reached and turned away over 200 customers to ensure safety compliance. A team of eight staff were also employed to regularly undertake a rigorous cleaning regime throughout the evening.”

“CastleCourt also provided increased customer signage, a barriered queuing system with staggered shop entry to ensure compliance with guidelines, as well as providing free face masks to all queuing members as required. Social distancing and associated safety measures within all of our retail stores remain the responsibility of the retailer,” they added.

Goss.ie have also contacted BPerfect Cosmetics for a comment.