'Full up till June' - Hair salons booked up for weeks despite longer days

Deb Dominic, Hairsmiths, Norwich, getting all booked up

The race for a haircut: Salon owner Deb Dominic, pictured here before Covid, is seeing bookings for some stylists taken until July. - Credit: Hairsmiths

It's one of the first places many of us want to go - but we might struggle to land an appointment.

Hairdressers and barbers are seeing their diaries fill up for months as people rush for a post-lockdown haircut, after the prime minister stuck to his April 12 reopening plan.

While some salons have waited until the last minute - and the prime minister's confirmation of when they can trade again - to open up for appointments, others have been rebooking clients for weeks and pledging to work more hours in a bid to cope with the demand.

Lauren Reeves, Stone Hairdressing, Norwich

Lauren Reeves, who runs Stone Hairdressing, has taken on 38 new clients and is working extra shifts. - Credit: Stone Hairdressing

One salon owner, Lauren Reeves, who runs Stone Hairdressing in Norwich and works on her own, said she was completely booked up until June, even though she had decided to work six days a week instead of four for the first three weeks of reopening.

Deb Dominic, Hairsmiths, Norwich

Deb Dominic, Hairsmiths. - Credit: Hairsmiths

Another, Deb Dominic, who runs Hairsmiths, on Timber Hill, said her first available appointment was May 28. The return of weddings and huge demand for weekend slots meant many of her stylists had nothing now until July.

Other salon owners are juggling staff working on a rota system. Many have invested in upgrading their online booking systems to cope and so they can offer a cancellation or waiting list service.

Stone Hairdressing, Norwich

Stone Hairdressing, Wensum Street, Norwich. - Credit: Stone Hairdressing

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Ms Reeves, from Stone Hairdressing, which is based on Wensum Street, said: "I'm booked up to June and I've got 38 new customers which is brilliant. I'm so excited as I had hoped it was the last lockdown. It's silly to work extra for too long as you'll just burn yourself out so I'm being careful and doing extra days for the first three weeks.

"I feel lucky because I'm in a profession in which I have a guarantee that I'm going to be busy compared to the pub industry which just doesn't know."

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Ms Dominic said: "My first space is something like May 28. Saturdays are super booked, I think due to weddings and Saturdays being in demand, some of us aren’t available until July.

Hairdressers should not be open during the third national lockdown, but Norwich City Council has served a prohibition...

Many people are keen to nip to the hairdresser's after lockdown ends. - Credit: James Bass

"But we have been recruiting and have added days, plus we have a cancellation list on our software that allows us to contact those requesting a cut or colour to reschedule. We also have a new apprentice starting.

"Last year was dire for so many apprentices and so many found themselves without a job."

Mark Blunsten, owner of The Egg salon, on Lower Goat Lane, said they had started phone bookings this week, with a receptionist in the salon Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. They are now preparing to working Sundays as well.

"Weekend slots are limited as staff are working on rota system," he said. "Before lockdown, we were always closed Sunday. To keep with social distancing and demand we decided to open seven days a week and it's definitely needed now."

Swagger and Jacks barbers has also announced new extended opening hours to 7pm from Tuesday to Thursday. It waited for the prime minister's confirmation before it opened its booking system.

Barry Alan hair salon, Norwich

Barry Alan hair salon, Pottergate. - Credit: Barry Alan

Barry Alan, of Barry Alan Hair Salon on Pottergate, said they were almost full up in April with some spaces in May.

And at the Moss Project, on Woburn Court, Guildhall Hill, they said: "We are full in April, in May we have the odd appointment but we're getting full up."

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnsonduring a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on co

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed businesses due to open on April 12 could do so. - Credit: PA Wire

On Monday evening, prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that hair salons would be able to reopen as planned on April 12.

The same announcement saw hospitality businesses including pubs and restaurants also given the green light to serve customers outdoors, while outdoor attractions can also reopen.

Hair and beauty salons have been significantly hit by the pandemic, with owners having weathered lengthy spells of closure.

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