Hair salons and barbershops will this week attempt to persuade the Government to allow them to reopen before the July date fixed in the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Businesses.The Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) said it plans "to present comprehensive recommendations to Government" in an effort to open salons earlier.
The IHF said the recommendations cover critical areas of the day-to-day operations of salons and will enable them to reopen in a manner which is safe to both staff and customers.
It said the recommendations are being developed "with the input of a noted health and safety expert" and are supported by several other organisations in the hair and beauty sector.
The final document will include over 110 specific recommendations which will help keep salons safe from Covid-19, the IHF said.
Incoming president of the Irish Hairdressers Federation, Danielle Kennedy, said: "Foremost in our thoughts is the wellbeing of our staff and the safety of our customers. The recommendations will radically change how we do our business, which will see the extensive use of PPE and sanitisation procedures.’’
There are 25,000 people employed in the sector and the IHF wants to ensure they can come back to work safely, Ms Kennedy said.
"I have been talking to hundreds of hairdressers in the past few weeks and they can’t wait to get back to work because they love their job and they love their customers. Our customers come in, they talk with the staff, find out the local news and they all go home feeling great. It’s a vital local service, especially for the elderly.’’
The IHF describes itself as the trade association for Irish hairdressers and represents over 400 salon owners nationwide, who in turn employ over 5,000 stylists.
Hardware shops, builders merchants, garden centres, farmers markets, opticians, car dealers, bicycle shops, office suppliers, phone and IT suppliers and home repair and maintenance services reopened last week under the first phase of the Government's roadmap.
Under Phase 2 from June 8, small retail outlets can reopen with a small number of staff if they can control the number of interactions. Marts can be opened if social distancing can be maintained, the Government said.
Small groups can train for outdoor team sports, but cannot play matches, while public libraries may also open on June 8.
On June 29, Phase 3 will see a phased re-opening of crèches, childminding and pre-schools for children of essential workers.
Organisations where employees have low levels of interaction with people; cafés and restaurants providing food and drink on the premises; and so-called non-essential shops can reopen on June 29 in phases.
Visiting will be gradually introduced to hospitals, residential centres and prisons during Phase 3.
Phase 4 on July 20 will see restrictions gradually reduced on some widely used services, such as hair salons, that are considered higher risk due to direct physical contact.
Employees who cannot work remotely will be considered first for a return to the workplace.
Theatres and cinemas; bowling alleys and bingo halls; pubs, nightclubs and casinos; and gyms, dance studios and sports clubs will be permitted to open subject to social distancing guidelines.
Shift work and staggered hours should be used to increase the numbers who can work while limiting interaction, according to the roadmap.