Coia Dahill, proprietor of Hemera Hair Salon located at Davis Road, Clonmel
Staff at Hemera Hair Salon in Clonmel have put in a busy few days accommodating a rush of bookings from clients ahead of the second Covid-19 lockdown.
The salon’s proprietor Coia Dahill said they had all staff on duty on Monday, a day the salon is usually closed, and they put in a 12-hour day on Tuesday until 9pm to meet the surge in demand from customers. The salon is also open for a long day today (Wednesday) ahead of the new restrictions that come into force at midnight.
“We are trying to ram a week of bookings into a few days,” she told The Nationalist.
It’s a case of the storm before the calm for the Davis Road salon and all other hairdressing and barbers businesses across the country, who won’t be able to reopen for six weeks from Thursday.
“It’s a nightmare but everyone is in the same position,” Coia said philosophically.
She pointed out that she would rather all hair salons had to close rather than being allowed to continue operating under more stringent travel and social distancing measures, which would result in a big fall in clients forcing her to lay off some of her eleven staff or put them on reduced hours.
At least under the lockdown, her staff will be able to claim the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This meant they would be better off than if they had to avail of unemployment benefit in the event they were laid-off while the salon was able to continue operating or suffered a reduction in wages due to reduced hours.
Coia reported the Level 3 travel restrictions had already impacted on the number of clients attending her salon.
She had clients living in counties Waterford and Cork who were turned back at garda checkpoints or were afraid to travel to hair appointments because of the restrictions.
She said the lockdown comes at a traditionally very busy time of the year for hair salons.
They had a lot of advance client bookings over the next month to ease the pressure when it came to the very busy pre-Christmas period, particularly as the salon has been operating at reduced capacity due to the social distancing restrictions.
Hemera and hair salons across the country will be met with another major surge of bookings again in early December if they are allowed reopen then.
If the salons can reopen in the first week in December, she predicts there will be an even bigger rush for client bookings than after the first lockdown as they will be dealing with a backlog of clients needing to get their hair done on top of the Christmas trade.
During the coming weeks of lockdown, Coia says she will be focusing on keeping the business ticking over by promoting online sale of their hair products that will include Christmas sets of shampoos, conditioners and other hair treatments.