Local salon owner: Current restrictions are ridiculous!

The owner of QF Hair Salon in Strokestown has said that services such as hairdressers are much safer than premises such as restaurants and pubs and has called on the Government to consider reopening them sooner under lower levels of restrictions.

Fiona Reilly opened her business on June 29th of last year and has faced a turbulent first year of Covid-19 lockdowns.

“I was only open until October before we were shut so I just feel I haven’t really had a proper chance,” she said this week.

“When I was allowed to reopen again in December I was literally working every day until we were told to close on Christmas Eve. There has been a lot of guesswork because, as a colour specialist, the majority of my clients would need a few visits as part of the treatment. It meant that I was very wary of taking new clients on”.

Fiona said hair salons like hers have always prioritised cleanliness but that Covid-19 has seen extra efforts made in order to safeguard clients.

“The current level of restrictions is ridiculous. It’s not the same as going into a restaurant or a pub. Even before Covid-19, it was one of the safest and cleanest places you could be and I think we should be placed at a lower level.

“With the restrictions, it quickly became a one to one service, and clients wear a mask for the duration while they sit in one spot in a disposable gown. When you’re quiet in a hair salon you are constantly cleaning and we have sterilising machines to make sure that everything is properly sanitised,” she said.

The Dublin native, who relocated to Roscommon nineteen years ago, said she wasn’t surprised by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s comments earlier this week, which suggested hairdressers would remain closed well beyond March 5th.

“It really didn’t surprise me. They just don’t seem to think of it as any type of essential service – it’s like they laugh at it!

“It’s not just a hairdressers though, it is very much a personal service and I see that in how it affects my clients. They come in here to vent and they always leave with a smile on their face. I have clients of all ages and they’re always asking when I’ll be back open.

“For now, I’m just using the QF Hair Salon Facebook and Instagram pages to stay in touch with them and offer them any help I can. Every week I put different hair care tips up there and just hope that it’s of some help to them,” she concluded.