As the government prepares to enter its phased roadmap to reopening the country, local hairdressers are looking at a “tentative” opening date of July 20.
Longford salon owner Margaret Mulvihill closed down her business, Zara Exclusive Hair Design, just before St Patrick’s Day.
“We actually finished up a couple of days before the official lockdown,” Margaret explained.
“Myself and the staff of eight sat down and discussed the situation and just like that, along with almost a million others, found ourselves out of work.
“It was devastating, naturally, as I don’t think any of us quite knew what the future held. The Covid payment of €350 a week gave some economic base line for us but at that stage we were staring into the unknown.”
But the government framework has given Margaret an idea of what’s happening, and she plans to reopen on July 20, under government guidelines.
“I think I received over a hundred messages in the next day or so after the announcement seeking to book an appointment,” said Margaret.
“I know there has been anecdotal evidence of black market activity but I’m proud to say that none of our clients have requested we break any guidelines. We have made our position very clear in that regard and will only reopen when it is safe to do so.”
Margaret is an executive council member of the Irish Hairdressers Federation, the representative body of salon owners.
Minister for Finance, Paschal Donoghue has requested that the IHF forward plans to safely reopen salons.
“The IHF has sent on proposals and are hoping to bring forward the opening of salons to phase three to help avoid uninsured and, frankly, dangerous black market activity, which could have very serious health repercussions for the most vulnerable in our society,” said Margaret.
“Ultimately the IHF, and indeed myself, will abide by the decision of the minister and NPHET in this regard.
“The most important thing here is the safety and well-being of staff and clients. We are establishing best practice in safety guidelines and the IHF have liaised with our counterparts in countries all over Europe, many of whom are opening back up their economies over the coming weeks.
“The business landscape will have changed dramatically on our return and only time will tell what that means for the local SME sector, which is the backbone of the local economy. I really hope people come out and support local business in the coming months and in the meantime that they keep safe and keep others safe by sticking to the guidelines.”