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Hairdressers say they are ready to open sooner

Baz Rifat

A group representing hairdressers in the UK says politicians are taking too long to give salons permission to open.

The Hair and Barbour Council, which represents 11,000 salons, estimates most of its members would be ready by mid-June.

The Department for Business has told Radio 1 Newsbeat that 4 July remains the earliest date they can open.

Salons have been closed since the lockdown began on 24 March.

Keith Conniford, the CEO of the Hair and Barber Council, says many salon owners want to open on June 15, alongside other non-food retail outlets.

He says “I have spoken to a number of practitioners I know within barbering and hairdressing and resoundingly they said yes”.

Image caption

Keith Conniford from the Hair and Barber Council wants to reopen salons in June

The July date applies only in England – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are setting their own strategy for opening up businesses.

But Keith says if any national government in any part of the UK gives them two weeks notice then they will be ready to open.

He’s also concerned about any additional measures salons will be expected to carry out, because they need to break social-distancing rules to cut hair.

“It’s manageable but [any new] guidelines that come out of government have to be workable.”

Businesses are being asked to be “Covid ready” before opening.

The UK government told Newsbeat they are currently working with the industry to provide more specific advice, but have set out some initial guidance for situations where people cannot work 2m apart. These include:

  • Keep the activity time involved as short as possible
  • Use screens or barriers to separate each other
  • Use back-to-back or side-to-side working
  • Stagger arrival and departure times
  • Introduce teams in store to reduce contact

The Hair and Barber Council lobby MPs to promote industry-wide standards but the group is concerned any additional rules will stop hairdressers being able to do their job.

A Department for Business spokesperson told us: “The Government has set up taskforces to work with industry representatives to develop safe ways for businesses such as hairdressers to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so.”

There is pressure from many businesses to get the economy moving with tens of thousands of people having their wages paid for by the government.

Image caption

Baz Rifat has made changes to her salon to be prepared for reopening

Baz Rifat’s Salon in North London has spent thousands of pounds getting Covid ready.

They’ve created booths and knocked down walls and introduced a text system with customers to confirm they have had no symptoms.

“We’ve been spacing it out so we’ve got social distancing.”

Baz tells us customers will be asked to wear face coverings, while she will wear a shield.

There will be no waiting area and staff will work in teams so if someone gets ill one team will isolate while the other keeps the salon open.

Fewer staff will make contact with people’s hair when they come in.

“Normally we have assistants washing our clients hair but I will be doing everything”.

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