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Hairdressers fear they will shut for good with thousands of job losses

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Hair salon owners are pushing to reopen by end of the month. Stock image

Hair salon owners are pushing to reopen by end of the month. Stock image

Hair salon owners are pushing to reopen by end of the month. Stock image

The Irish Hairdressers Feder- ation (IHF) has published guidelines it says will save thousands of jobs by allowing hair salons to reopen safely in three weeks' time.

It comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced last Friday that there will now be only four phases instead of five out of lockdown.

However, despite pressure from industry representatives, Mr Varadkar said hairdressers and barbers will remain shut until phase four, which does not come into effect until next month.

As part of the revised road map, it is planned that all internal travel restrictions will be lifted by phase three on June 29, while most retail outlets will be allowed to open from today.

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Mr Varadkar said hairdressers and barbers will have to remain shut as their work is "high-risk engagement" because it involves "almost face-to face contact".

IHF, which represents more than 400 salon owners nationwide, has issued a set of guidelines it says would allow businesses to safely navigate reopening at the end of this month.

The guidelines were developed following engagement with the HSE and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

Among the main recommendations are the use of PPE for stylists and customers, Covid-19 training for staff and screening of customers when taking bookings.

Other guidelines include the full sanitisation of work stations after each customer, the recording of all clients' details and reading material to be removed.

Commenting on the guidelines, IHF president Danielle Kennedy said they went "above and beyond" the Government's advice and would enable hairdressers and barbers to reopen safely in phase three instead of phase four.

"If we wait any longer to reopen, hundreds of small businesses will go bust and thousands of people will lose their jobs," she said.

Cabinteely-based hair consultant Ceira Lambert said stalling reopening would mean many salons being put at risk of closure.

She questioned the rationale of the decision that will see hairdressers being closed for more than four months.

"It's so hard when you have this huge backlog of clients. Our emails are blowing up from customers wondering when we can reopen again and looking to book in again for appointments," she said.

She specialises in hair extensions, and has been particularly concerned about those clients who have suffered hair loss as a result of undergoing cancer treatments.

She said she has already bought all the PPE equipment for her staff and customers and "would love to see salons brought into phase three".