‘I feel guilty because I can’t fit everyone in’ - Hairdressers and barbers see pre-lockdown rush
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
Hairdressers and barbers across Norfolk are feeling the strain ahead of a second lockdown - with some working 13 hour days to fit in clients before closing.
Swagger and Jacks barber shop on Orford Hill, Norwich, is among those who have ramped up their opening hours until they are forced to shut for a month from November 5.
Owner Mark Young said the shop would be open from 8am to 9pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but they are already fully booked, as customers rushed to get a last-minute appointment.
The 52-year-old said: “From our experience from the first lockdown, barber shops and hairdressers were in the third tier of businesses and we didn’t open until quite a late stage.
“So as much as we hope to open at the beginning of December it’s something, we are mindful of and that is why we are trying to accommodate as many customers as we can.”
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Despite the pending closure, Mr Young remains positive and hopes customers will carry on supporting the business, which has been in the city for eight years in March.
Carl Lee, of Talking Heads in Lancaster Road, Great Yarmouth, said the number of bookings was “unprecedented.”
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Mr Lee, who has been at the shop for 35 years, said: “I am full up today and opening up tomorrow on my day off.
“I was 50pc down after the first lockdown. I am going to have to come in at 6.30am and work for 14 hours just to get it done. I will do more than a week’s work in three days but it will still leave me short.”
Other salons had already gone to the wall, he said, because there simply wasn’t enough work to keep them going.
Hannah Allinson is the owner of Unit 7 hair salon in Heydon, who believes the government have made the wrong decision which could close businesses for good.
The 27-year-old said: “It is the busiest time of year for everyone and for some it sees them through January and February. “I think it’s bizarre they are keeping schools open, yet a business with three to four customers at a time, which follows all safety procedures and PPE requirements, has been forced to close.”
“The government should have looked at transmissions statistics for different sectors.
“It doesn’t make any sense. I’m really upset and I feel for people that will lose their businesses over this.”
Victoria Poole is the owner of Unique Hair and Beauty, in Thetford, who said without financial support many salons will not survive a second lockdown.
The 47-year-old said: “I am feeling very worried. I know my staff are safe, but it’s more for myself and my business as I am self-employed.
“After going through it already it is a huge concern and all I can say is that we are hoping we can get financial support because without it I can’t see how businesses will survive.”
Samantha Laurie, co-owner of The Den, in Gorleston, which opened after lockdown, added: “I felt gutted when I heard the news.
“We are working all hours to fit everyone in before Thursday. Everyone wants to be cheered up and I feel guilty because I can’t fit everyone in.
“I have just started up the business and it has been going so well, it is concerning as we don’t know how long for certain it will all last and how long we have to close for.
“Especially because we are self employed, we only get 40pc of our wage.”
Steve Bunn, co-owner of Croppers, in St Gregorys Alley, Norwich, said: “I quite honestly support the decision. It is the right thing to do. We all have to try to do our bit no matter how inconvenient it is for us.
“We have to be dynamic and expect changes because we still don’t understand the disease, but if they give us a date to come back and stick to it, we can plan for that.”