Tuesday, 20 April 2021
HAIRDRESSERS and barbers in Henley have welcomed customers back for the first time in more than three months.
Salons were allowed to re-open on Saturday with strict measures in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Government guidelines suggest increasing the frequency of handwashing and staggering appointment times to reduce the number of people on site at once.
Businesses have had to purchase extra protective equipment for staff and customers as well as fit plastic screens to reassure clients during their visits.
Hairdressers must wear a protective visor that extends below their chin. Customers can choose to wear a mask.
Jamie Belcher, who re-opened his Bell Street Barbers in Henley on Saturday, is also taking the temperature of clients when they arrive for an appointment. He said: “It is currently appointment only, one in and one out, unless it is the same household. Quite often we have a dad and two children who come in together and that is fine.
“Everything is cleaned in between appointments, including door handles and chairs, with disinfectant. We also have hand sanitiser by the door.
“I have gloves, masks and a visor and I am using disposable aprons as well after each customer. I have removed a lot of things from the waiting area, such as cushions and magazines, which could potentially carry any infection. I have taken it back to basics.
“It isn’t cheap but it is what we have to do in order to be open. I have gone a little bit above what needs to be done but safety is paramount and I am happy to go the extra mile to make people feel comfortable.”
Mr Belcher said he was trying to clear a backlog of customers that built up during lockdown.
“Everybody wants to be first,” he said. “We are in huge demand and I am lucky that I have lots of loyal customers.
“I don’t have any staff so I will put in twice as much work to make sure everybody is happy. The next month or so is going to be hard with long hours, but I haven’t done anything for 14 weeks so I am not complaining.”
Nicola Chapman, who owns Elements in Bell Street, said the salon was fully booked until August.
She said: “We have been very busy. It has been crazy since we re-opened because we have reduced staff and we are leaving gaps in between appointments to clean and sanitise equipment.”
The salon has two teams of staff, each with four members, who work every other week.
Miss Chapman said: “It is going to take a little bit of time to build things back up and we aren’t taking as much money as we normally would be.
“We are trying to follow the government guidelines as much as possible. We are wearing shields and we have sneeze-proof barriers, hand sanitiser and gloves.
“It feels good to be back but with a little bit of nervous excitement at the same time.
“I think the Government got it just right to be fair because we are in close contact with people. All the staff are very happy and are glad to be back.”
Lynda Parker, owner of Rudi Kartal in Duke Street, is working through a waiting list of about 500 customers. The large size of the salon means the usual number of staff is able to work. Social distancing is encouraged at all times and all staff wear full PPE.
Hand sanitiser and face masks are available on request and clients have to wait at reception. The chairs are thoroughly cleaned between appointments.
Miss Parker, of St Anne’s Close, Henley, said: “We have employed a receptionist and they ensure that only one person is allowed in at a time. The stylist wears a visor and all clients must wear masks.
“It is absolutely lovely to be back. Clients have been very considerate and obeyed all the extra rules we have put in place. We are gradually getting through the waiting list. Our clients are so loyal and I have a brilliant team — if you have a combination of those two things, it is amazing.”
At Marc Antoni in Hart Street, Henley, all the staff are back and the salon has invested in PPE.
Director Julie Giamattei said: “It is appointment only and when you come in you have your temperature taken and you have to sanitise your hands.
“We are not serving any hot drinks, we just have bottles of water for the clients. We have to wear visors and we are asking clients to wear a mask.
“We have allowed 15 minutes of extra time in between each client for cleaning down the stations and the high-touch areas. It is the cleanest place you will ever visit.
“We had more than 1,700 appointments across our five salons when we put a notice up to say we were re-opening and the phone hasn’t stopped. Everybody is happy to be back.”
13 July 2020
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