Beauty salons in Tayside are being radically transformed to prepare for an avalanche of clients desperate to tame their wild lockdown hairstyles.
Entrepreneur Charlie Taylor said her award-winning premises in Dundee and Perth will be overhauled to keep staff and customers safe once restrictions ease.
The hairdressing industry is waiting for the go-ahead to reopen and is likely to be included in phase three of the Scottish Government’s post-lockdown strategy, although counterparts in England have been told they could restart as early as July 4.
In the meantime, salon owners are working on their own plans for relaunch – while bracing themselves for an influx of customers who have gone without a proper trim for several weeks.
For Charlie, who has been in the industry for 44 years and running salons for 36, it will mean some huge changes.
“We have never been in a position where everyone is going to want to have their hair done at the same time,” she said. “By the time we are looking at reopening, we will have been shut for about four months.
“That means we are going to get a third of a year’s worth of clients all wanting to get their hair done at once.”
To prepare for this, both Charlie Taylor salons will stay open for longer: 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
A whole new rota will be drawn up for the 30-strong workforce, to minimise the amount of people in each salon at a time.
All staff will be wearing masks, gloves and face-shields, as well as disposable gowns that will be thrown away after each customer.
Customers will have to book in advance, and could be told to wait in their cars for the salon to call them.
Premises will be fitted with perspex screens at reception and backwash shields, as well as automatic hand sanitisers.
The days of flicking through a magazine while waiting for an appointment could also be consigned to the history books.
“We are having our salons completely gutted, refurbished and redecorated,” Charlie said. “We have decided to just take the bull by the horns and go for it.
“In a time like this, I think it’s better to think positively about the future. Our staff are really up for getting back to work, and as soon as we get the go-ahead our salons will open their doors and they won’t be closing.”
She said: “In a funny sort of way, this lockdown has been good for our industry in that people’s perceptions have changed. Hairdressing was maybe taken for granted but, having being forced to go without for so long, more people are seeing it is a vital part of their wellbeing.
“As someone who has been pushing to make the industry credible, I find that quite positive.”
She added: “We are lucky because our salons are quite big and it will be easy for us to keep at least two metres apart.
“But it’s not a positive story across the industry. I know there are businesses really struggling financially and they maybe won’t ever reopen.”
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