Hairdressers, barbers and beauticians in Omagh were among the happy faces on Friday as the latest easing of restrictions took effect.
Phones have been ringing off the hook at salons since the Executive’s announcement on the easing of restrictions on April 16, with online booking systems being set up to cope with the pent-up demand for their services.
Omagh town centre was a hive of activity on Friday, as the pleasant weather provided the perfect backdrop to the hairdressers’ big day.
Claire Campbell, of Claire’s Hair Studio in Omagh, said while it has been a difficult time for many, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel now.
“It’s great to be back – it’s great to hear life back inside the salon again. It was eerie when there was nobody around, and you would miss the chat and just hearing how people get on with their lives,” Claire said.
“Obviously we have to do what we have to do and it’s very much about keeping everyone safe, so running a business has been difficult.
“We’ve missed being able to get on with our normal lives, but at the same time we have done the lockdown now and we’ve got through that.
“We have been supported by the government and only for that I don’t know where we would have been, but we are delighted to be back and seeing people’s faces on a daily basis again.”
Claire added that bookings had been coming thick and fast but they were more prepared now than after the first lockdown.
“Because this is the second time around now for us we’ve been a wee bit better prepared.
“We’ve reached out to a lot of people, and still are, so it will take a while to get through everyone. We’re offering more opening hours and everyone’s treatment is important. Whatever time we need for each individual will be given, and it will be worth the wait.
“We have to limit who comes through our door. Anyone that is coming has an appointment pre-booked.
“We are carrying out everything as it should be, and we are very lucky to have the space in here to be able to keep a good distance.
“Everyone has been excited and a wee bit anxious having been off the floor for so long. It’s just like meeting everyone for the first time again – it’s just butterflies and excitement.
“The response we’ve had from clients is that they’re delighted to see us back up and running again.
“I’ve been blown away by the beautiful messages and the excitement to just get back out there and get beautified.” Claire added, “It’s like going back to school, and we are full of mixed emotions but we are just extremely delighted. Our clients are more than clients – they are friends and people we have been working with a long time.”