Measures proposed include extensive use of PPE for stylists and customers

Hairdressers and barbers will be allowed to reopen sooner than planned and will now be able to resume work on June 29th.

The decision was confirmed by Government sources on Wednesday night.

Earlier on Wednesday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said hairdressers could be allowed to reopen earlier than previously planned, and he described as “too slow” the Government’s initial five-phase road map to reopen the country from the coronavirus lockdown by August.

Hairdressers had been due to reopen on July 20th. Earlier this week the Irish Hairdresser’s Federation (IHF) proposed 100 measures it said would ensure salons and barbers are safe to reopen.

Among these measures are ban on reading material for customers and extensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for stylists and customers.

They also include proposals for the full sanitisation of workstations after each customer.

The IHF plan also suggested Covid-19 training for all staff, and there will be screening of customers when taking bookings.

Salon visits and customer phone numbers will also be recorded for contact tracing purposes. Hairdressers are not being advised to wear gloves.

It was unclear last night which of these proposals will be in place when hairdressers and barbers reopen.

The IHF had argued that if it is forced to remain closed until the end of July, the shutdown will have lasted for 18 weeks when the average time hairdressers were closed in other countries across the EU has been between six and eight weeks.

The federation said its guidelines had been developed following engagement with the HSE and the Health and Safety Authority and with the assistance of health and safety experts.

Danielle Kennedy, the federation’s president, said the guidelines “go above and beyond the Government’s advice on what to do and will enable hairdressers and barber shops to reopen safely in phase three rather than phase four”.

She added that the federation had spent the past six weeks working with experts, the HSE, and all parties in the hair and beauty sector to develop the new guidelines.

“This is an extremely safe and cautious set of guidelines,” she said.

“There are 25,000 people employed in our sector and we want to ensure they can come back to work safely. If we wait any longer to reopen, hundreds of small businesses will go bust and thousands of people will lose their jobs.”

Irish Times Reporters