'We’re already well equipped': Hairdressers preparing plan for 'safe' early reopening

- with reporting from Vivienne Clarke

The Irish Hairdressers Federation wants hairdressers to be able come back to work earlier than planned.

It is recommending the Government open salons on June 29.

Currently, hairdressers are due to open on July 20 - during phase four of the Government’s plan to reopen society.

The organisation represents over 400 salon owners across the country, which employ over 5,00 stylists.

Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) incoming president, Danielle Kennedy says the sector is ready to open more quickly.

“Saloons are already very sanitary environments,” she said.

“We already are very well equipped to take that level of hygiene and those hygiene standards just up to the next level.

“We’re already well equipped for contact tracing as well.

“So we’re one of the industries that can adapt very, very easily to the Government’s protocols in order to reopen earlier.”

Ms Kennedy told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that there would be no ‘walk-ins’, customers would be seen by appointment only and would have to answer screening questions such as if they have been out of the country recently and if they had a temperature.

The IHF will present comprehensive recommendations to the government this week pointing out that they could reopen in a manner that was safe for both customers and clients.

“Our customers want us to open, a salon is a very positive environment. There is a positive bond between a stylist and their client.”

Ms Kennedy pointed out that in other countries salons had reopened after six to eight weeks, but that in Ireland it will have been 18 weeks on July 20.

Salons are already well equipped to operate within guidelines with high levels of sanitisation. “We can easily adapt,” she added.

The 1m and 2m physical distance issue will also have a major impact, she said. This will be the distance between clients, she explained, as staff will wear PPE while working with a client.

Ms Kennedy said she did not anticipate visors would be worn as staff primarily work with the back of a client’s head. “PPE is the easy bit, the main thing is operating the social distancing.”