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17.21 5 Feb 2021


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A Dublin barber who is offering 'lockdown haircuts' says he feels like he has no other choice but to keep his business open.

Under level five restrictions, barbers and hairdressers must close.

However, despite that, some are still offering customers a haircut - either at customers' homes, or within the barber shops or salons themselves.

It comes despite the risk of fines or imprisonment if they're prosecuted for breaching the public health rules, not to mention the risk from the virus itself.

One Dublin barber - who didn't want to be named - is still offering haircuts in his Dublin city centre barbershop, and is taking bookings through social media.

He spoke to Newstalk's Josh Crosbie for today's Hard Shoulder.

Dublin barber offering lockdown haircuts says he's 'booked out every day'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

The barber said: “I’ve no choice… I have to do it out of sheer necessity.

“I’ve been down so much money, and still having to pay rent. There are bills that still have to be paid.

“I’m taking a chance every day with getting COVID, and as well getting caught by the police… I hear they’re handing out hefty fines.

“I’m booked out every day, but I only do small numbers every day just to keep the traffic coming to the shop low."

He said he's seeing around seven or eight customers a day, who are paying around €40 for a haircut.

This particular barber said he's finding many men simply aren't willing to go without a haircut, despite the risk of COVID-19.

He said: "I’m wearing a mask, and disinfecting everything before and after customers. But the lads who are just cycling around the city and doing haircuts… I think they’re putting more people at risk.

“I shouldn’t be doing it, but I have no choice - I have to keep the shop going. I’ve worked so long to build it up, I can’t lose it just because the virus has come along... small businesses have no choice."

He said he is receiving some of the Government grants and supports, but it's not enough to support his business.

'Cop on'

However, not all barbers are considering offering 'secret haircuts'.

Sam Donnelly from Sam's Barber owns seven currently closed shops, and is not happy that some barbers are still operating despite the restrictions.

He said: "Cop on - the longer we act the mick with this type of stuff, the longer we’re going to stay in lockdown.

“They’ll throw every excuse at you - ‘I have a mortgage’ or ‘I have to put food on the table’. Well so do I… I’m probably worse off because I’ve got bigger outgoings. But I’m doing the right thing.

“It’s disappointing they’re allowed operate, and it’s disappointing everyone knows it’s happening but noone’s doing anything about it. The shadow economy is booming at the moment.

“Then you have the secret salons, which I think is an utter disgrace - where salons are taking customers through the back door. "

Sam said he believes it's important for barbers to do what they have to do at the moment, even though he thinks it would be safer for them to be open if haircuts are still happening.

He suggested: "With our industry open, it’s far safer: what you have is contract tracing, and people abiding to the guidelines."

He said what’s important now is to have proper supports for after lockdown, saying industry groups have recently had a ‘very positive meeting’ with Minister of State Damien English about their concerns.

Reporting by Josh Crosbie. Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice
Main image: File photo. Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

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