For one Naas business owner today’s reopening in the wake of the lockdown represented the storm before the calm.
Alan Keville Hair’s eponymous owner is looking forward to reopening the doors of his salon at North Main Street but feels that once the initial wave of enthusiasm subsides, a reality check is in the making.
“We won't really see the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic until the middle of next year and there would be concern about what might happen once measures like rent reductions for businesses, rates amnesties, VAT reductions and measures put in place to support businesses begin to subside. It’s really next year we have to prepare for.”
He said margins are quite low in the hairdressing business and it is inevitable that demand for services will return to normal levels once the[pent up demand created by the lockdowns has been satisfied.
Not that he’s complaining for now.
The decision to allow him to open up this morning was much better than an earlier proposal of a week before which, he said, did not allow enough time to prepare for business.”the earlier reopening date was a leak, which is the way much of the government information comes to light initially. It’s as if they want to test public reaction.”
However businesses need to organise staff rosters, secure stock and make sure that the all health and safety protocols are in place.
“As it is we have had difficulty securing all the products we need because every business wants them at the same time and also because of Brexit, which has creaedsome supply problems. Every salon is looking for stock because we didn't think the reopening would happen until June.”
Staff have to get used to the procedures. “We work on a one to one basis with customers because we want to have a relationship with them and obviously we don’t want them getting sick.”
There are no walk-in arrangements so every job is done following an appointment and the new work practices also mean that salons now have less room for patrons.
All of his staff are booked out for two months and they are working twelve hours a day - with one of his stylists working a six day week.
Alan says that the closure has been very tough.
He recalls that the last major weather event shut down the Naas salon when inches of snow arrived.
“That was for two weeks and at the time it was very unusual. So this was a totally different level of business interruption.”
Ironically the not knowing when he’d be back in business helped. “If we were told we’d be shut for the better part of a year, we’d have just closed up.”
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