FESTIVE CHEER Joan Rowland in Petals, Westport.
CHRISTMAS cheer is all about chic hair, sculpted eyebrows, painted nails, dark lashes and a sparkling feeling of beauty at Petals salons in Westport and Castlebar. Despite two closures because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Joan Rowland and her dedicated team of hairdressers and beauticians are in festive spirit as they welcome clients back since reopening after the second lockdown on December 1.
She tells The Mayo News that the ‘second-reopening’ was much easier than the first on June 29. Like so many other retail outlets, hairdressers were deemed non-essential retail and closed almost overnight back on March 15 last when the seriousness of the pandemic first struck. It was certainly a shock for the 28 staff, part-time and full-time, but nine months later they have adapted well to the ‘new normal’.
“Reopening on December 1 was less stressful as we had all the safety protocols in place from the summer reopening. Our team were amazing and so positive about reopening, nothing was a problem and there were lots of great suggestions and help as we adapted again,” Joan Rowland says.
“Our lovely clients were so delighted to see us back and ready and waiting to help them get ready for Christmas. I have to say they are all so compliant with our safety procedures too, it makes our job so much easier.”
These procedures kick-off with your temperature being taken on arrival in the salon.
Rowland says that during the two decades of the salon’s presence in Westport ‘there has been a real build-up of a Petals community and it has been such a lift to see everyone back for Christmas’.
During the lockdowns, they developed their online presence too.
Steep learning curve
Reopening back on June 29 for the first time had involved a steep learning curve which she embraced.
“Obviously when we learned we were reopening in summer there was a rush to organise PPE, screens, sanitisers, deep cleaning both salons. Whilst social-distancing was no problem in the Westport salon as it is quite large, Castlebar was more challenging.”
Joan explains they also extended their opening hours from 8am to 8pm and revised staff rostering to ensure both staff and clients were comfortable and had plenty of space around them.
She acknowledges the help of the government payments which took some of the financial burden from the team as everyone still had to pay their mortgages and bills.
Of course, there was also the need during the lockdowns to reassure clients as roots grew out and hair began styles went wild.
“We advised most of our clients to wait and not use box dye for hair colour. For various beauty problems we used social media to answer questions and posted virtual events to keep clients informed,” she continues.
For Joan Rowland and her team all the protocols are now in place for a Covid-19 free environment and some most welcome personal grooming. She stresses that the minimal risk of getting Covid-19 in hair and beauty salons has been proven globally.
“Traditionally, hairdressers and beauty therapists execute our services in an extremely hygienic manner anyway, she says, and now there are even more protocols in place to ensure compliance with NPHET and the wonderful Dr Tony Houlihan who has led the country through these difficult times.”