Covid-19: Hairdressers and gym owners ready for reopening surge

Hairdressers and gyms are looking forward to welcoming clients back after having to close their doors six weeks ago.
Covid-19: Hairdressers and gym owners ready for reopening surge

Hairdresser Wayne Lloyd, of Wayne Lloyd Hair, Bandon, Co Cork, preparing for re-opening.

Many hairdressers are almost booked up until Christmas, even before their doors open again. 

Hotels, retail, hairdressers, churches, gyms, and museums are among the first to reopen tomorrow under the eased Covid-19 restrictions. 

Wayne Lloyd, a West Cork hairdresser, is looking forward to welcoming back his customers.

He has two salons: One in Bandon and one in Ballydehob.

Being forced to close six weeks ago was tough, because hairdressing had been compliant with regulations and had "done nothing wrong", Mr Lloyd said.

"We have worked hard; we felt that salons had little-to-no recorded outbreaks. We had done such a good job with the sanitisation, the hygiene, the contact tracing, it was a bitter pill to swallow."

However, Mr Lloyd said it is important that no matter how busy the salons become in the coming weeks, all safety measures must be followed.

Hairdresser Wayne Lloyd, of Wayne Lloyd Hair, Bandon, Co Cork, cleaning the mirrors in preparation for reopening.
Hairdresser Wayne Lloyd, of Wayne Lloyd Hair, Bandon, Co Cork, cleaning the mirrors in preparation for reopening.

"I think, in December, everybody is going to go a little bit crazy because it's Christmas," Mr Lloyd said. "It's important, as an industry, not to take our eyes off the ball and keep up the sanitation and contact tracing, even if we are very, very busy."

Mr Lloyd thinks the second lockdown was harder than the first one. "Even though it's been shorter, because it's winter it's been a little bit tougher on people's mental health," he said.

"We have done some training on mental health with staff, just so they are aware of each other's mental health, and with the clients," Mr Lloyd said. "We just have to make sure we watch what we are doing on that."

For this reopening, Wayne Lloyd Hair has not created a waiting list, unlike last time, he said.

"What we did was rebook all of our November clients for December, and we have been recommending people to make their Christmas appointments now," Mr Lloyd said.

"We are pretty much booked up until Christmas. There are a few appointments left; we have kept some aside, because some of our clients are not on social media, and some leave it until the last minute to book.

"People will phone during the first week in December, looking for Christmas appointments. So, we try and look at it from all avenues."

Meanwhile, the reopening of gyms, and fitness-and-wellness centres, will be vital, not just in the short-term, but long into 2021, because people have realised that activity is good for physical and mental health, Cork gym owner Edward Finn has said. 

Mr Finn, owner of Cork-based One Arena fitness centre, on the Pouladuff Road, thinks Covid-19 could turn out to be the catalyst for massive systemic change in how we view exercise and well-being.

Edward Finn, owner of One Arena gym. Picture: Larry Cummins
Edward Finn, owner of One Arena gym. Picture: Larry Cummins

"Our team, like everyone throughout the country, is rearing to go. I am hopeful that, once we open our doors again this week, that we will never look back," Mr Finn said.

"Our home environments have become our work environments in so many cases, and people want that outlet in a safe place that isn't work or home. Although distancing will still be acutely observed, obviously, the social element cannot be undervalued," he said.

Online classes and programmes had worked for many people during the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, but, for many, there is nothing like the real thing.

"Fitness and well-being and real-life interaction have intellectual, emotional, and social concepts, and I believe people have realised just how important it is over the last few months," Mr Finn said. "2021 is going to be a huge year in the development of fitness and well-being.

"The pandemic, as awful as it has been, has brought home to us just how valuable our physical and mental health is," he said. "Being stuck at home has meant most of us simply haven't moved enough every day. I believe people won't take for granted the benefits of movement anymore."

That means a "very exciting time" to be involved in the strength, fitness, and health industry, Mr Finn said.

"During lockdowns and restrictions, One Arena had a lot of our business in the corporate sector. That sustained us, but this is a new opportunity that we are going to grab," he said.

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