Hairdressers and barbers in Ireland are calling for salons to reopen next month rather than in July as set out in the Government’s roadmap.
According to RTÉ, the Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) will this week present comprehensive recommendations to the government in an effort to open salons earlier.
The recommendations – which are supported by several other organisations in the hair and beauty sector – cover a range of safety precautions ensuring the well-being of both staff and customers.
It's understood that over 110 specific recommendations are listed in total.
The IHF proposes that salons and barbers should be allowed to reopen by 29 June, the date Phase 3 is due to begin, pointing out that salons offering Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a sanitised environment for staff and customers would be far more controlled than individuals moving from house to house.
As it stands, hair salons are not expected to reopen until 20 July at the very earliest, according to the COVID-19 phased system set out by caretaker Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on May 15.
Following the Taoiseach's speech, the IHF released a statement urging people not to pressure hair professionals into visiting clients' homes to perform hair services before 20 July.
"Please do not put your salon or stylist under pressure to provide you with a product or service that goes against government guidelines or recommendations as a professional industry," the statement read.
Fears have also arisen among IHF members that a hairdressing “black market” may be in operation during the lockdown, compromising public health.
Countries where hair salons have reopened, such as Australia and Italy, are making stringent use of face masks and gloves as well as implementing strict limits on the number of people allowed in a salon at one time.
In Spain, some salons have erected plastic sheets between customers. No walk-ins are allowed and staff wear PPE while customers must wear masks.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, incoming IHF President Danielle Kennedy said the IHF is recommending that salons only allow customers in by appointment and carry out pre-screening to see if clients have been abroad or ill recently.
She said that salons are well equipped and have good sanitisation procedures and it will be recommended that salons "take this up a notch".
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