Hairdressers and barbers in Southport are looking forward to reopening this weekend – with some of them already having waiting lists weeks long!
Saturday, July 4 will see them joining other businesses including restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels, guest houses and others in welcoming customers for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown came into force on March 23.
They will, however, all look very different, as they introduce new measures to keep people safe from the virus.
With guidance rather than rules in place, rules between venues will vary, so customers are asked to call or message ahead before they visit.
Many venues are now appointment-only and discourage walk-in clients, while others urge people to pay by contactless card.
You may find old luxuries such as a cup of tea or a magazine consigned to the past, at least for now.
Tracy Badley Robinson, who owns the Element5 Hair & Beauty salon on Tulketh Street in Southport town centre, is looking forward to reopening this Saturday.
Speaking on Sandgrounder Radio last night, she said: “It has all been quite surreal! It has all been a bit strange.
“We have lots of new safety measures in place.
“While it is all going to be looking a bit clinical, we are going to be putting up balloons and flowers to make it look a little nicer.
“We have taken some chairs out, we have put hand sanitisers in, put posters up, markers on the floor, just to keep everyone safe. Our staff are going to be wearing visors.
“We will just be doing our best to try and get on with it.”
After four months without haircuts, customers are already flocking back.
Tracy said: “Our appointment list is massive!
“We are pretty much fully booked for the next seven weeks, although there is still the odd slot left. The phone has not stopped ringing. I have not been off the phone for the past eight days, and we are still getting calls coming in.
“It is really good to see. What local businesses in Southport need is for people to come back, or we are not all going to survive.
“People in Southport have been brilliant. They have been supporting us, they are really right behind us, and other small businesses.
“They really do want to put their money into the local economy, whether that’s with hairdressers, barbers, restaurants, cafes, or whoever. Local businesses really do need your support.”
For the past few weeks Tracy has been running a Hair Care Blog on the Sandgrounder Radio website, with lots of tips for surviving through lockdown. There is handy advice on there now for people going back out.
Tracy said: “The biggest advice I can give is to contact your salon before you go.
“There are guidelines in place, but they are guidelines, not rules. What happens is down to the individual salon owners.
“People should contact their local salon. There are a lot of changes.
“People are being asked to call or go online and make advance bookings, or pay by contactless card. People are being asked to not come in if they have any symptoms of coronavirus, and not to come in with any family members or friends. We should not offer appointments to anybody who is shielding until their shielding period is over, their health is more important.
“When clients come in now we are not allowed to handle their coats. We are not putting magazines out. We cannot offer tea or coffee, but we can hand out bottles of water.
“Lots of things have changed.”
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