Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Auckland hairdressers face logistical nightmare after being closed for three months

From Thursday, Aucklanders who are fully vaccinated will be able to get a much-needed post-lockdown haircut, but not all salons will be opening their doors straight away.

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Cabinet decided to undertake a trial by allowing hairdressers and barbers in Auckland to open from Thursday to vaccinated customers.

It would be a trial of the vaccination certificates – hairdressers could only take bookings – no walk-ins.

All staff must be vaccinated and only vaccinated customers are allowed, masks and safety precautions will also need to be taken.

Salons across Auckland were busy last night contacting customers with plans on how they would reopen and what services would be provided.

Servilles said it would focus on rebooking clients who had appointments from the last 100 days.

While many in the industry are pleased with the announcement, Mt Albert hairdresser and salon owner Melissa Harema said many hairdressers now face a “logistical nightmare”.

“Whilst it’s great news that we can be open the logistics and administration of reopening a salon that has been closed for 12 weeks takes a lot longer than two days.”

Harema anticipated an announcement and began ordering stock, but her salon The Spot will remain closed and reopen next Tuesday.

“For the wellbeing of myself and my staff member, I’ve said ‘no we will reopen next week’ we are going to take all the time we need this week and use it to book all the clients.”

“Because once we start on the floor that’s what we are here to do, we are here to do hair we’re not here to answer the phone and reply to social media messages.”

Ardern said hairdressers were chosen because the seating allowed distancing to be maintained. The trial does not include beauty salons.

She and her one staff member spent lockdown figuring out ways to attack the three-month backlog of clients, to ensure everyone is seen.

While clients at The Spot will still be able to get a colour, Harema said all services will be capped at one hour.

“Some services take three-four hours, and that’s one person for three or four hours so what we have done is we are capping our services to time,” she said.

New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers chairman Niq James said it was great news for Auckland salons.

“We know it’s been really hard for them [Auckland hairdressers] over the past few months especially watching other industries go back that maybe don’t have the same health and safety guidelines that we do,” he said.

As a single mother of two, Harema said while she is a business owner she needs to take care of the wellbeing of herself and her staff member to ensure clients get them at their best.

“We want every client with comes through our doors to get the best of us.”

The My Vaccine Pass will be an official record of Covid-19 vaccination status, allowing access to things like concerts, festivals, gyms and sports events, as per the new Covid-19 Protection Framework.

Hairdresser Karen Bilham is the only full-time employee at the Muse Boutique Salon and said as a small business she will be able to monitor who comes in and out of her salon.

“I’m quite lucky that under the guidelines and everything it’s very easy for me to work as I only have one other person in the room.”


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