James Cox & Cillian Doyle.
The Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) has called on the Government to allow hair salons to reopen for those who are fully vaccinated.
According to the IHF, it would provide an essential boost to the mental health and wellbeing of elderly people, who have been cocooning for over a year.
Furthermore, the IHF also asked for consideration to be given for fully vaccinated frontline healthcare workers.
Speaking to Beat News, Grainne Maher, of Carlow's "Roots 'N' Ends" in Bagenalstown says it's heartbreaking that the industry is at a halt:
"It's going to be mayhem when we get back - the black market is just ongoing, people are doing it anyway (cutting hair through level 5 restrictions) and we are going to lose clients and the black market is just going to get bigger and bigger."
"We always sanitize - we are the industry that does it the most - we sanitize everything, we always have but now we have just upped our game."
"I don't see the issue with us staying closed, to be honest - it's absolutely heartbreaking that they are keeping us closed."
The call from the IHF comes on the eve of the Government considering plans to lift some restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
“A reopening of salons for fully vaccinated people would also prove a major boost for frontline healthcare workers who have been under extreme pressure in the past twelve months,” the IHF said.
According to the Irish Hairdressers Federation president Danielle Kennedy, these two critical groups are at the forefront of their call for reopening.
“Elderly people have been cocooning for the past year, and it would such a great boost for their mental health and general wellbeing to be able to pop down to the salon and talk to people in a safe, controlled environment.
“They get out of the house, get their hair done, feel refreshed and come away feeling great. Not a day goes by where we don’t think about our heroic frontline healthcare workers have been under suffering under huge strain and trauma with this crisis for the past year.
“I don’t know anybody who would deny them the boost they deserve, and it would be great if they could enjoy a trip to their hair salon or barber.”
Ms Kennedy added: “We are asking the Government to consider our essential proposal with the wellbeing of these two groups in mind, as they have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
“Hair salons are safe and hygienic spaces for them to go to. We have extensively reviewed and updated our health and safety guidelines. We are continuing to review and refresh our guidelines as new information becomes available.’
“The IHF is very aware of many elderly customers suffering badly, due to not being able to get their hair done, including many who cannot wash their own hair due to health conditions.
“Furthermore, there are many people undergoing various stages of cancer treatment who need vital access.”
The Irish Hairdressers Federation is the trade association for Irish hairdressers and represents over 500 salon owners nationwide, who in turn employ over 7,000 stylists.