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Major changes as Walsall salon prepares to reopen

By Gurdip Thandi | Bloxwich | Business | Published:

Clients of a hair salon will finally get the styles they want following lockdown – but face a very different experience than what they are used to.

L&J Hair staff training to work safely wearing visors. Pic: Joyce Hunt

Bloxwich-based L&J Hair owner Joyce Hunt has been busy implementing a raft of measures and spent hundreds on protective equipment to ensure customers and staff are safe when doors reopen on Saturday.

Covid-19 forced the unisex salon, on Park Road, to close on March 21 resulting in dozens of cancelled appointments and staff on furlough for months.

Since the Government announced hairdressers and barbers can start up again, Mrs Hunt said her team of five have been inundated with fresh bookings.

But, due to the new working rules, fewer slots are available while staff and customers will have to adhere to a host of new procedures when they are there.

The number of stylist has been reduced to three due to social distancing.

Clients will have to stay in the reception area before being taken to a work station for their appointment as the waiting area is out of bounds. They won’t be able to leave that unit apart from for a toilet break.

Drinks cannot be served.

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Hand sanitisers have also been placed around the salon.

Staff are getting used to wearing visors as they work as they train in preparation for the reopening.

L&J Hair. Pic: Joyce Hunt

They can only work on one client at a time and will have to spend at least 15 minutes cleaning and disinfecting the work station after each customer – greatly reducing the appointment times available.

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Each stylist will have all their own equipment and products to use as nothing can be shared between them while gloves and aprons will be changed after every job.

Their bags and personal belongings will have to be put away in a box while the staff room also has strict social distancing rules in place.

As well as masks, disinfectants, hand sanitisers, new extractor fans and foot pedal bins have also been purchased.

Mrs Hunt said lockdown was tough – but they are looking forward to returning.

L&J Hair staff training to work safely wearing visors. Pic: Joyce Hunt

She said: “In recent days, we’ve arrived at the stage of ‘will it actually happen’ given what’s happened in Leicester. So we’re a bit anxious but it is exciting.

“We’re excited to see all the people again and try to get a bit of normality back.

“I’m a bit nervous as well because, as a salon owner, the health of a lot of people depends on what I put in place.”

During the past several months, the team of six have kept in touch via video calls to see how each is doing.

Safety signs and hand sanitiser has been placed all around L&J Hair in Bloxwich. Pic: Joyce Hunt

Mrs Hunt said: “The girls have been saying they have been bored and wanted to get back to work again, although they are partly nervous.

“I’ve told them we’re bound to make some mistakes, as we’ve worked a certain way for years, but not to stress. A benefit is we’ve been off work for so long we will be starting fresh.

“We’ve been taking bookings and some are now already well in September as we can only fit several jobs in a day due to the restrictions.”

A big fear for Mrs Hunt is clients eager to finally have their hair done not being upfront about their conditions, thinking they are fine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited L&J Hair in Bloxwich last year. Pic: Joyce Hunt

She said: “If that happens we would have to shut the shop due to the need to go into self isolation for at least two weeks.

“That could happen at any time. We could work one day and then have to close.

“We’re taking all measures we can but to then be told we have to self-isolate again, it could fold many businesses. Hopefully it won’t but we have to prepare for every eventuality.

“We have to trust the public to not lie to us. They are desperate to have their hair done but we need them to be honest with us otherwise there might not be a salon for them to return to.”

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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