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The NI people breaking coronavirus lockdown for secret hair appointments... and the industry expert who says rule-flouting stylists could have 'blood on their hands'

Since salons were ordered to shut in March, an underground business has flourished with hairdressers seeing clients in their own homes, but it's an illegal practice that threatens to split the industry for good. Leona O'Neill investigates

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Paul Stafford is highly critical of rogue stylists doing clandestine call-outs

Paul Stafford is highly critical of rogue stylists doing clandestine call-outs

Many hairdressers are breaking lockdown rules by visiting their clients at home. Pictures posed by models

Many hairdressers are breaking lockdown rules by visiting their clients at home. Pictures posed by models

Many hairdressers are breaking lockdown rules by visiting their clients at home. Pictures posed by models

Many hairdressers are breaking lockdown rules by visiting their clients at home. Pictures posed by models

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many hairdressers are breaking lockdown rules by visiting their clients at home. Pictures posed by models

Many hairdressers are breaking lockdown rules by visiting their clients at home. Pictures posed by models

Jason Shankey

Jason Shankey

Paul Stafford is highly critical of rogue stylists doing clandestine call-outs

Since the pandemic lockdown began, a shady underground practice of bootleg and backstreet hairdressing has developed across Northern Ireland. Secret hair appointments in shuttered salons and clandestine home call-outs have been happening right across the province from week one of the restrictions being introduced, putting hairdressers and their clients at serious risk of infection.

While one leading industry expert has blasted those behind secret hairdressing as having "blood on their hands", hairdressers and barbers continue to advertise their wares on social media, unabashed. This is despite the fact that everyone is being told to adhere to the 'Stay Home' message and the stark warnings that we must not socialise outside our own household.

One barber in the north west wrote on Facebook that he was "booked up for the rest of the week" but was taking appointments for next week and left his number for clients. He stated his tools were "steeped in Barbicide for sterilisation" and that he was wearing a face mask and gloves "as a precautionary safety measure". When contacted he said that he had "stopped it now after someone reported me".