GOLOCAL


Some Bay of Plenty hair salons are extending their opening hours to help clear a backlog of appointments due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

And customers could have to wait more than a month for an appointment at some salons.

Hairdressers can operate in alert level 2 as long as they keep contact tracing registers, 1m between clients, and good hygiene practices, including disinfecting surfaces between services. They are not required to wear personal protective equipment such as masks.

Honeycomb Hair and Beauty owner Sarah Pearson said business had been "insane" since the Tutanekai St salon opened on Thursday.

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"We haven't stopped. We have been doing 12-hour days," she said.

Pearson said her stylists were booked up until the middle of June for a hair colour and the salon had queues of people "nearly as big as Kmart" waiting for haircuts most days.

To cater to the demand, Pearson said the salon had extended its opening hours from 9am to 7pm.

She said it had been "awesome" to finally be able to open the salon doors after seven weeks in lockdown.

"It is really lovely to see everyone back in town. Everybody is just so happy they are getting their hair done. It just shows hairdressers are essential."

Operating in level 2 meant the stylists were sanitising the salon chairs between clients, using hand sanitiser and keeping clients outside until it was their turn.

Sarah Pearson is owner of Honeycomb Hair and Beauty. Photo / Andrew Warner
Sarah Pearson is owner of Honeycomb Hair and Beauty. Photo / Andrew Warner

Salon St Bruno owner Hilda Dufty said the salon on Tutanekai St had been "absolutely mad" since doors opened in level 2.

Dufty said she took a punt hair salons would be allowed to open in level 2 on Thursday so staff began phoning clients who were booked in pre-lockdown just in case.

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"Waiting times for our senior stylists are chocka for the next four weeks."

Intermediate stylists were booked up for about a week and appointments with junior stylists went "at a drop of a hat", she said.


Level 2 rules included spacing salon chairs and washbasins 1.5m apart and wearing masks when in close contact with clients.

Dufty said it was really nice to see her clients again and get back to normality.

"They are like an extended family, the ones who have been coming for years."

Sonia's Barber Shop owner Sonia Lynch said it was "wonderful" to be able to open in level 2.

"I am a one-man-band and I have been flat out," she said. "I have opened early and am shutting late and have been working 10 to 12-hour days."

Lynch said waiting lines had been "out the door" on Pererika St but she was excited to see her regular customers again.

"They have missed me and I have missed them."

Meanwhile, Hair to Stare At in Tauranga was booked up for about the next four weeks.

Co-owner Damian Conn said the salon has had to open seven days a week to cater to demand and the phone was still "ringing off the hook".

"It is very busy. It is Christmas-busy."

Hairdressing at level 2 meant every second salon chair was full, staff wore masks, the salon was sanitised regularly and their 16 stylists had to be split into two groups.

Conn said having to shut up shop in level 4 was "pretty scary" not knowing how long the salon would be closed for.

"There were lots of sleepless nights and stress."

Tauranga's Envy Salon owner Jenny Hurliman said staff were working seven days a week to fit in all seven weeks of lost business and it was "heartbreaking" having to tell some of their clients there was a two-week wait.

Hurliman said they were lucky to have hired a stylist just before lockdown which meant she was free to take on some of the bookings.

"We are busy but it is a positive thing. We are just really fortunate to be back in business."