‘We’re going to look like nurses’ - Hairdresser’s concerns about return to work
- Credit: Archant
Longer hours, less customers and the financial burden of buying protective equipment are among the challenges that will face hairdressers when they return to work as lockdown is gradually lifted.
Jane Long, 56, who cuts hair at Beautilicious on Ludham High Street, wants to start work again but admits it is going to be “really difficult”.
She said the salon, which she runs with Jenny Drake, 42, is in a precarious position since closing in late March and when it does reopen - government guidelines suggest this could be July 4 at the earliest - it will be a different experience.
“We’re going to look more like nurses really,” she said, referring to the face mask, gloves and apron.
“It will be a bit daunting for people. We won’t be able offer cups of tea or magazines. But we want people to feel safe coming in, that’s number one.”
Before lockdown Ms Long would see approximately eight to ten customers a day.
“That will probably go down to about six,” she said.
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“We’ll have to leave time in between customers to sterilise everything before we start with the next person.
“It’s not going to be possible to manage as many customers. To make the same amount of money we’ll have to work more hours, and we’ll still have to pay the rent and that’s not going down.”
MORE: ‘I’m taking on big city salons’ - Ludham hairdresser makes L’Oreal grand finalBuying PPE will also add to the costs of running the salon.
“By the time you’ve bought all the stuff, is it going to be worth going in? I’m going in because I want to, but it will cut our profits by a lot of money,” she said.
Ms Long understands some customers will feel nervous about booking an appointment.
“We’re going to feel nervous ourselves, we can’t social distance with people, it’s impossible.
“Hopefully the precautions will reassure them. It’s going to be a little bit stressful to begin with, but the priority is making people safe.”
The business has been running for eight years and the government grant of £10,000 has meant they have not had to pay rent.
“But as for any money for ourselves, I didn’t get any money from the government until May 26,” Ms Long said. “That was eight weeks without getting any money but I am having to pay council rates, electricity and gas standing charge, telephone line rental, wifi.”