HAIRDRESSERS, barbers and beauty salon owners across Northern Ireland are hair-ing to go as they prepare to reopen in July.
The Republic of Ireland is expected to bring forward the opening of salons to June 29 as part of the third phase of lockdown easing with Northern Ireland also expected to follow suit shortly afterwards. A date will likely be given this week.
Suzan Manning (46), owner of Zuni Hairdressing in Belfast, said: "We don't have a definite date yet, we're also waiting for specifics on things like distances and exactly what can and can't do in the salon.
"Blow-drying for example, there's some European countries where that's not allowed at all so certainty around things like that is important.
"Distancing is massive for us because it dictates how many staff we can employ and what we can offer.
“It is going to be very different from before. Customers for example will need to wear a mask, either their own mask or one can be provided, and our staff will be equipped with full-face shields meaning they will still be able to see their hairdresser.”
"We will no longer have a waiting area, magazines or refreshments. Everybody is also going to have to be temperature checked before disinfecting their hands, then it will be straight over to the chair so there's no waiting around," she said.
"All the staff will be wearing PPE and going through sanitisation but we want to try and maintain a nice service where possible and a good service as well."
Elsewhere in the industry times have been tougher for mobile hair and make-up professionals like award-winning Olivia Muldoon (44, above) from Dungannon, who has lost an entire year's worth of income.
She adapted to online teaching to keep her business going during lockdown but says she cannot wait to get back to her brushes.
Olivia said: "Business collapsed with lockdown as my clients have postponed their events, weddings, award ceremonies etc and I haven't worked face-to-face since mid-March.
"It's been tough as I fell into the category of not receiving any help from the government being a director of a company but not employing anybody.
"All my clients have moved their bookings into 2021. I also teach bridal hair and make-up so I started online classes for that during lockdown to try and keep the business afloat. I can't wait to get back up and running."