Dawn Duignan, Chloe Healy and Margaret and Zara Mulvihill were thrilled to be opening up Zara Hair Salon on Monday morning Picture: Shelley Corcoran
When discussions on the reopening of businesses across the country began several weeks ago, there was one major question on everyone’s mind: when are the hairdressers opening?
Finally, after more than three months in lockdown, businesses across the country are reopening their doors, installing safety measures to avoid any spread of Covid-19 and hairdressers are certainly seeing a massive demand for their services.
Months of bottled hair dye and dodgy home cuts have finally come to an end and salons across Longford are rejoicing as they welcome clients back.
“I’m over the moon to be back. I haven’t been off for this long since I was a teenager, so I’m feeling a mixture of anxious and excited all at the one time,” said Margaret Mulvihill of Zara Hair Salon in Longford town.
The salon has been closed since the beginning of lockdown, so the news that she could reopen on Monday, June 29, was welcomed with open arms by Margaret.
“I have a renewed focus on my business - you start to look at it from completely different angles,” she said.
It hasn’t been lost on her that she’s “one of the lucky ones” who has been able to reopen her business, when so many are facing increasingly challenging situations as social distancing restrictions remain in place.
Things are already extremely busy, she told the Longford Leader.
“There was one day when I probably made 70 phone calls for appointments and we now have about 250 bookings,” she revealed.
Despite the high demand, the salon is not as loud and manic as would be expected. Margaret’s staff have been divided into two teams to work from 7am to 10.30pm, six days a week, with plans to open from 8am to 5pm for the next two Sundays.
But with social distancing measures in place, and the team split up, there aren’t many people in the salon at any one time. Fortunately, it’s a large salon and, with the new restrictions, can accommodate nine people at once.
“We have full PPE as per industry guidelines and a cleaning regime that would make Kim and Aggie or Mrs Hinch jealous,” Margaret told the Leader.
Staff have also removed every second chair to give them considerable space to observe social distancing.
“We even have a private room for vulnerable clients if they are feeling in any way nervous,” said Margaret.
“We have actually picked up some new clients because people like the fact we have good space.
“It’s a bit strange that the whole team are not together and we will miss that camaraderie but we are conscious of our responsibilities and have spent a lot of time and effort in getting things right for both our staff and clients.”
Barbers are also experiencing a high demand now that some of the restrictions are listed.
Billy Beahan and his wife, Jean, of Billy’s Barbers in Longford town opened up shop at 7am on Monday to accommodate a queue of customers outside the door, with steady business rolling in for the entire day.
“We’re giving senior citizens priority early in the morning,” Billy told the Longford Leader on Monday.
Priority to the elderly will mean those who are more vulnerable to the virus can go and get their hair cut without having to worry about large crowds.
The opening hours at Billy’s Barbers have been extended to accommodate the fact that the work space has been reduced for social distancing.
“We’ve had to refurbish the whole shop and reduce the work space,” Billy explained.
“We’ve reduced the waiting area and remodelled the whole thing inside and we have all the PPE.
“Fingers crossed we’ll all pull through. Of course we’re delighted. We’re happy to be back open, even if it is with restrictions,” he concluded.