More premises reopen as further Covid restrictions lifted
For many people, the reopening of beauty salons can't come quick enough.
On the back of three months of lockdown, the chance to get out and visit a salon will provide welcome relief from being couped up at home.
However, salon owners have had to implement a wide range of measures to ensure they are compliant with all regulations arising from the Government's roadmap for reopening.
Therese Gleeson operates the Finishing Touches salon in Main Street, Enniscorthy, and she said there will be big changes involved from this week onwards.
'One of the biggest changes is in the number of appointments that we can take,' said Therese.
There will be gaps between appointments too so that a full clean-down of work stations can take place between clients.
There will also be special perspex dividers in place at the nail bar which will enable clients to be face-to-face with the nail technician but still have privacy.
'The staff will all have masks and PPE and we will ask clients to wear masks too,' said Therese.
Some of the other changes that had to take place included changing the type of bedding used.
'We liked using luxurious blankets and bedding as it just helped clients feel relaxed but now we cannot have that anymore,' said Therese.
'We have to have disposable sheets now,' she added. 'Even the massage bed has to have a special cover on it and then they have to be obviously cleaned.'
Therese said the knock-on effect of the new cleaning regulations is that it's time consuming and that means a reduction in the number of appointments.
'For 17 weeks, we have very little income, other than a small bit of online business, and you're coming back into a work situation where you cannot get the income level back to what it was,' she said.
'We are very lucky because the salon is over two floors,' she added.
Therese also operates a smaller salon in the Riverside Park Hotel called Rejuvenate Treatment Room.
'That salon has only two staff and so they will only be able to have two treatments ongoing at any one time,' said Therese.
Another change to the Finishing Touches salon is that it will no longer be able to facilitate walk-in clients.
'It will be different and I think people will be patient,' she said.
'We cannot take in walk-in clients because you have to be able to control the level of activity in the salon but that obviously means you will be missing out on walk-in customers,' she added.
Therese said that just in terms of PPE alone she and her husband have spent in the region of €3,500 to get the salon ready to reopen.
However, she is grateful for the assistance of a grant made available by the Government to help businesses like hers.
'We spent close to €3,500 between the two salons,' she said.
Therese said her staff can't wait to get back to work.
'I haven't lost any staff but we will be working different days,' said Therese. 'We just have to deal with it and get on with it because it's here now.'
She expressed disappointment that the old way of greeting clients with hugs, tea and coffee will not happen now.
'That will be so different but it is what it is,' she said.
Therese also feels mask wearing is something that should have been brought in earlier.
'Sixteen weeks out of the year is a long time [to be closed],' she said.
Therese said the people of Wexford were brilliant in how they handled the pandemic and said: 'We just need to keep doing what we were doing.'
Therese expressed her sympathy to anyone who suffered a bereavement during the lockdown period. 'I feel for anyone who may have lost someone in all of this,' she said.