Reopening hairdressers: ‘We’ll do our bit and are going to ask clients to do theirs’

Salon owners say they have adapted and put measures in place to keep everyone safe

Shane Curran who owns the Kings Head Barber Shop on Sandwith Street Upper in Dublin has to had to make significant changes to his premises ahead of next week’s reopening as Covid-19 restrictions ease. Video: Bryan O’Brien

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The wait is almost over for hundreds of thousands of wild-haired people across the country.

Hair salon owners have expressed confidence that when they reopen on Monday week all measures needed to keep clients and staff safe will be in place.

Like many in the hairdressing business, Eoin Wright, owner of Foundation Hair on Dublin’s Upper Stephen Street, has been studying the more than 100 recommendations from the Irish Hairdresser’s Federation, but he says that ultimately it comes down to “common sense”.

He has been involved in a string of Zoom calls and webinars with industry peers and health professionals, and has radically altered how his business will operate from the moment clients arrive to the time they leave.

“The client journey is fully mapped out,” he said. “When people arrive they will see a sign saying if the waiting area is empty they can come in. They will be greeted by their stylist and taken directly to their station.

“The consultation will happen behind their head with both stylist and client wearing face masks. There will be disposable gowns and towels and at the end they will pay at their station and exit using a different route .”

Bookings

When it comes to bookings things are “slightly more complicated”, he said. Clients who had bookings cancelled following the salon’s closure will get “first dibs”.

There will be a lottery in place after that, with the winners getting calls from Saturday.

Mr Wright said it would take weeks to get through the backlog, “but we will get there and we will ensure it is a pleasant an experience as possible”.

“We will do our bit and are going to ask clients to do their bit too. We will ask them to turn up on time and wear face masks and use the hand sanitisation because we are all looking after each other.”

He said there will be two shifts in the salon – from 8am to 2pm and from 2pm to 8pm – so if someone on one shift falls ill with coronavirus the other team can keep working.

“We are creating a slightly different customer experience but the key is to adopt a common sense approach. We’re not opening an ICU, we are opening a hairdressers, but I’d prefer to be overzealous now and be able to pare things back rather than being insufficiently prepared if something bad happens.”

Lisa Eccles owns Zinc in Dublin’s Kilmainham and is also ready to reopen. “We have the training done and the markings in place and the masks and hand sanitiser. I feel very prepared,” she said.

The number of clients the salon will see is likely to fall from up to 80 people to no more than 30 daily in the weeks ahead, while the number of staff working at any one time has been halved to seven.

“When it comes to bookings we have three lists – people who had appointments cancelled, our regulars and then others. We have a list of over 1,000 people to get to but I am not overwhelmed, it’s a good place to be.”

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