Hairdressers intend to work longer hours, remove indoor waiting rooms, use personal protective equipment, and stick to strict time schedules when they reopen this summer, in order to ensure staff and clients are protected from coronavirus.
Hair salons and barbers are expected to be allowed reopen sooner than planned on June 29th, having previously been told they could reopen on July 20th.
Government sources on Wednesday night said that a decision to bring the reopening of barbers and hairdressers forward to June 29th is being worked towards as the plan to reopen Ireland after coronavirus restrictions is accelerated and changed.
However, the Irish Hairdressers’ Federation has said that visits to salons and barbers will be different when they reopen, with various changes being implemented to ensure the safety of clients and employees.
Lisa Eccles, from the federation, who owns Zinc Hair and Beauty Salon in Kilmainham in Dublin, said salons are currently in the process of marking out two metres between where clients will be.
“We’ll have reduced staff on shift. We’re hoping to work for longer hours to fit in a similar number of people, but just over a longer period of time, so that at any one time there are less people in the salon,” Ms Eccles said.
“They’ll send you an email 24 hours before your appointment or they’ll call you and ask you questions like have you experienced any symptoms of Covid-19, have you come into contact with anyone who has a positive case of Covid. Just to really give both our clients and our staff that little bit of reassurance.”
Clients will also have to wait outside until the time of their appointment, and a staff member will then come to the door and take them in for their appointment.
They will then be required to wash and sanitise their hands before putting on a mask and single-use gown.
“Some people will use maybe a disposable one, but we’re going to use our normal ones and then once that client wears it, we’ll take it off and put it in a 60 degree wash,” Ms Eccles added.
The Federation has also urged its members to ensure that time schedules are kept to, in order to prevent any overlap of clients or delays.
“We will be very strict when it comes to anybody who shows up late for an appointment. We simply wouldn’t be able to accommodate them because it will impact then that appointments for the rest of the day,” Ms Eccles said.
The Federation said that demand for hair services has been “extremely high” with many people being unable to get their hair cut since the coronavirus restrictions came into place in mid-March.
Ms Eccles said she had “dozens of messages” when news broke that the reopening of the sector is likely to be brought forward.
“First of all, we’re going to go back to those people who missed appointments in the first few weeks of closure and they will be the first people that we will offer to get booked in,” she said.
“From there then we have a waiting list and we’ll start working through the people just so we can keep control of the appointments and the numbers so everything will be very organised.”