Delight as Boris Johnson gives hairdressers and salons green light to open on April 12
‘RELIEF’ was the word on the lips of hopeful hairdressers and salon owners last night as Boris Johnson finally gave them the green light to re-open from next week.
Speaking at a televised press conference in Downing Street, the prime minister confirmed that all non-essential retail shops, alongside gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons would be able to open back up from Monday.
It comes after months of lockdown heartache, which has seen firms closed since just before Christmas due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Business owners revelled in the news last night, hailing it as ‘the light at the end of a dark tunnel’.
Laura Ott, director of Hair Ott, said the move meant they could finally reopen their branches in Cosham, Waterlooville and Whiteley – just a day before the company marked its 45th anniversary.
She said: ‘We feel relieved. We’re just really keen to get open again. We are fully booked for the six weeks. You can see light at the end of the tunnel now.’
And to get ready for the big reopening, the salon’s training staff have been working hard to prepare their team of 18 young apprentices, who were finally able to return to their education last month.
Laura added the financial pressure of being closed for so long had taken its toll on the business, forcing her to close her former site at the Lakeside business centre in North Harbour.
‘The financial strain has been a bit overwhelming,’ she said. ‘We were hoping for a five per cent VAT cut but that didn’t happen.
‘And the grants that you get, while they’re welcome, are not enough to cover the running costs. We’ve got three salons and 80 employees. So it’s been really tough.
‘But hopefully now we will be able to finally move on.’
The feelings were shared by Dom Valente, who runs Razor Sharp Barbers in Fareham. He said his business had lost £143,000 in takings since the start of the pandemic.
Dom said: ‘This lockdown has been the toughest one of the lot both mentally and financially.
‘I walked in the shop and it felt like I forgot I owned it. The last time I did any haircuts was just before Christmas.’
The salon has bumped up its Covid precautions, with staff now required to take lateral flow tests twice a week.
Despite hoping this lockdown would be the last, Dom admitted he was worried about the future.
‘I am 99 per cent we’re going back and that’s it because the vaccine rollout is in such a good position,’ said the 31-year hairdressing veteran. ‘But there is still that tiny bit of me that worries what if they do it again. There’s a third wave in Europe, so that’s still a concern.’
The concern is shared by Laura Davenport, who runs the Nail Boutique from her home in York Terrace, Hilsea.
The 36-year-old, who has been a nail technician for 18 years, said she was excited to see her customers and staff but added: ‘This has been the darkest period in my career. We have survived recessions but this has been different.
‘All my staff have taken up part-time jobs elsewhere and I don’t have my full-time girls anymore. I’m lucky because I don’t have to pay rent for my salon as it’s in my home and my husband has been able to support me.
‘I really, really hope that this is it now. I might possibly consider another job if it isn’t. I don’t think I could do another lockdown.’