The Cabinet has approved another acceleration in the roadmap to reopening the country's economy and society in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means that from June 29 (Phase 3), hairdressers, barbers and beauticians can reopen for business, with a number of Covid-related restrictions. Such premises were previously due to reopen with the Phase 4 easing of restrictions on July 20.
Gyms and places of worship can also reopen and sporting activities can recommence, again with a number of conditions, while gatherings will be limited to 50 people indoors from June 29, rising to 100 people in July.
The reopening of Hairdressers, Barbers and Beauticians comes after the Cabinet agreed to move the date forward after a recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and follows the Irish Hairdressers Federation recently published guidelines, which also suggested a Phase 3 reopening.
There are over 100 specific recommendations within the Irish Hairdressers Federation's guidelines to safeguard staff and customers(see checklist below). Welcoming the move, its vice president Lisa Eccles said all staff will wear face masks and maintain "very strict cleaning standards".
She added: "We cannot wait to get our clients back in and we'll be on the phones next week booking people in."
Ms Eccles said hairdressers will be in a position to help with contact tracing as they will have the names and contact numbers of all clients. She also said the extra few weeks of reopening before the initial date given will help save jobs in the industry.
Among the Irish Hairdressers Federation's measures are a ban on reading material for customers and develop a no-touch greeting policy.
They also include proposals for the full sanitisation of workstations after each customer and Covid-19 training for all staff, with a screening of customers when taking bookings. Salon visits and customer phone numbers will also be recorded for contact tracing purposes.
Trade union Unite, which represents hairdressers throughout Ireland, said that employers need to engage collectively with workers to develop an agreed Covid-19 safety protocol before salons re-open. The union also called on employers to facilitate those employees who are unable to return to work at the end of the month due to underlying health conditions or a lack of childcare provision.
The Irish Hairdressers Federation Client Journey Checklist
- Communicate and post new salon procedure online
- Communicate to customers and advise them to stay home if they are feeling symptomatic and follow HSE guidelines on self-isolation
- Update appointment booking protocol
- Make a provision for a walk-in client protocol in line with physical distancing recommendations
- Develop a provision for elderly or vulnerable clients
Salon/Barbershop Point of Entry
- Display any relevant COVID-19 screening questions and your hygiene and salon protocol at the building entrance
- Establish hand sanitation zones at the entry and exit
- Place a physical barrier screen at reception if applicable
- Develop a policy asking clients relevant COVID-19 screening questions
- Develop a policy that ensures that a contact log can be maintained
- Place metre marking and any relevant signage to remind clients of physical distancing
- Develop a no touch greeting policy
- Develop a policy around managing any retail areas
- Establish a cleaning and sanitation policy for all high touch areas and surfaces
- Establish hand sanitation zones throughout the salon/barber shop – particularly at all entry/exit points and high traffic areas
- Develop a protocol to ensure clients preform hand hygiene
Gowns and Towels
- If required, revise your laundry policy
- Put in place a protocol for the use and disposal of single use gowns/towels
Consultation and Service Delivery
- Risk assess and adjust your standard operational procedures (SOPs) to account for any new measures required to carry out the service that are reasonable and practicable
Shared Reading Material
- Remove all shared reading material
Implements and Equipment
- Put in place a policy to ensure all implements and equipment are cleaned and sanitised before and after each use
- Establish a protocol for cleaning and sanitising high touch surfaces regularly
- Ensure there is always soap or hand sanitiser available