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close cut Irish salon owner Alan Keville says any new Covid restrictions will cause more pain

'Our industry has been put through the mill for the last two years and we’re literally just getting back on our feet'

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Well-known Irish salon owner Alan Keville said that new Covid restrictions will further damage an industry that is still just getting back on its feet

Well-known Irish salon owner Alan Keville said that new Covid restrictions will further damage an industry that is still just getting back on its feet

Well-known Irish salon owner Alan Keville said that new Covid restrictions will further damage an industry that is still just getting back on its feet

Well-known Irish salon owner Alan Keville has said that any further doubt created by the imposition of new Covid restrictions will further damage an industry that is still just getting back on its feet. 

Today, the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 said passes will be required for cinemas and theatres but decided against extending them to gyms, hairdressers and barbers.

Alan, who owns salons in Dublin, Wexford and Naas, said that while his industry dodged a bullet today in that they will not be included in the new rules, any further question marks about the potential safety of clients poses a risk to salon owners still trying to catch up after months of lockdown.

“We’ve been so good at regulation, and in implementing and maintaining hygiene standards across the industry,” he said. “And the Irish Hairdressers Federation have been very active in getting across the message of how good we are with people, and how safe we are.

“So, I think that if they were to bring in Covid Cert checks it wouldn't be a problem for me to implement, but the problem would be that it might scare people off from coming in.

“They might start thinking, ‘there's a problem in hair dressing saloons’ and, coming up to Christmas with salons so busy, they might think it would be better if they stayed away.

“Our industry has been put through the mill for the last two years and we’re literally just getting back on our feet,” he added. “I know that’s the case from talking to lots of friends in the industry and other business owners.

“You have to remember that, while we've been super busy since we reopened (in May), we were a year behind in rent and everything else. So, while we’ve been flat to the mat since we started up again, business is running a year behind.

“It’s only just starting to get really consistent now and I'm afraid the mixed messaging will cause more harm than good.

“A couple of weeks ago we were hearing that no, they wouldn’t be reintroducing restrictions, and now we’re told that they are, and next week we would be told that yes, in fact, hairdressers will have to check Covid certs.

“Our industry is super passionate about health and safety and because we were closed for so long, the last thing we want is a question mark over safety.

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“This is the time to make up for all those months that we were out of business, and particularly now coming up to Christmas, it is crucially important for businesses to make up for lost time.

“And the last thing we need now is to be told well, hairdressing is actually quite a risky business. We don't need any kind of dent now in our industry.”

Alan also revealed that since he reopened, he has noticed that the majority of people visiting his salon were vaccinated and were quite vocal about it too.

“I’ve had a very small percentage of people who I think were non-vaccinated coming in,” he said. “Because I'd say 99 per cent of the clients that have come in have literally been bragging about having their Covid passport.

“I don't think anybody would have a problem in being asked to show their passport but like I said, I think the fact that they had to would create a fear factor.”

Speaking earlier this week, Fine Gael's leader in the Seanad Regina Doherty said she did not think she could support an extension of the Covid-19 vaccination passes to gyms, hairdressers, and other services.

The former social protection minister said there was "absolutely no need for me to have a vaccine pass to go into my hairdressers" and that she did not think she could "genuinely support an extension because it is a discriminatory process".

However, Ministers are concerned that more restrictions will be needed if the measures introduced today do not reduce transmission.

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