Scissors, comb and fohn are disinfected and ready for action. After a forced six-week break from corona, the hairdressing salons in forchheim are allowed to open again. The rush is rough. "As soon as it was known that we were allowed to open, we were bombarded with requests for appointments via instagram and facebook", tells the hairdresser yvonne krampert from the salon "domani art of hair forchheim".
Despite the traditional day of rest, many salons in forchheim opened their doors on monday in order to save the partly unsuccessful lockdown-related self-attempts of the customers. "Especially the boys wanted a quick appointment. But there are also many younger people who have lent a hand themselves and tried their hand at color experiments. A young woman in her early 20s has dyed her blond hair a cheap shade of brown. The result was grun. Such things we had to save yesterday. But this applies more to the younger ones, the older ones have already made such experiences in the youth", the hairdresser says with a laugh.
Salons are happy about the rush
Yesterday, the salons could not complain about a lack of customers. On the contrary, in order to cope with the flow of customers and to make up for the loss of sales in recent weeks, many salons are currently extending their opening hours, including "domani art of hair". "The demand is so high. For the next two to three weeks, we have extended our opening hours from nine to 8 pm. Which has never been the case before", according to krampert.
Axel meininghaus, deputy head of the hairdressers’ guild in forchheim and owner of the salon "meininghaus friseure forchheim", also reports something similar: "in the last few weeks there have been running costs, but no turnover, and we are now trying to make up for that. With extended opening hours six days a week and, where possible, two teams are on duty that are not allowed to cross each other’s paths. In the event of an employee catching the virus, the other team can step in and help out. But that’s only possible in my salons in bamberg and munich, in forchheim it’s not feasible in terms of personnel."
The hygiene requirements of the hairdressing salons are strict. In order to avoid congestion in or in front of the store, walk-in customers must not be accepted. "An appointment is obligatory", according to krampert. "The entrance to our salon is closed, and customers have to knock and wait until we pick them up."
Customers as "virus slingers
The waiting area is cordoned off and notices on the doors explain the applicable hygiene rules to the waiting customers. The salon may be entered only with face mask, has the customer no own mask with it, there are in some salons meanwhile some to buy, so meininghaus. "But there is no profit in it. The pruflinge have – like the schoolchildren – already started again last week and made masks in the time", meininghaus continues. In addition to his salons in forchheim, bamberg and munich, the master hairdresser also runs the "meininghaus academy of hairdressing" which provides training in forchheim.
"The customer is now only seen as a virus slinger. As soon as the customer enters the salon, the hairdresser has to wear rubber gloves. The customer is no longer handled with velvet gloves, but with rubber gloves", meininghaus jokes. "Due to spacing regulations of 1.5 meters, only every second space may be occupied. Of the 12 places in forchheim, only six were allowed to be occupied by customers."
Also at "domani art of hair" customer contact has changed dramatically as a result of the hygiene inspections. "No accompanying person is allowed. The chairs in our salon also have to be at a distance from each other. But we are lucky that our salon is very coarse and we can serve all the seven customer places." Nevertheless, the team had to get creative. The only two washbasins are too close together. In order not to have to lose their jobs, the hairdressers have taken up handicrafts. A wooden frame with a plexiglass pane should protect customers and employees from droplet infection in the future.
Illegal requests from customers
"We are not allowed to offer magazines or pouches. The jackets must hang up the customers themselves. And we are not allowed to offer dry cuts." After hand disinfection at the entrance, the customers go straight to the washbasin. The mandatory washing of the hair at the beginning of the treatment is to remove any residue of the virus from the hair. "Although color is only done on dry hair, which means that it must be dried twice. Some hairdressers are also raising their prices because of this", reports axel meininghaus.
But not only because of this. "When the customer changes, the mask also has to be changed and the washbasin, faucets, everything has to be disinfected. Every day the whole store must be disinfected, the toilets even every hour. Outer clothing of the hairdressers should remain directly in the salon and be washed here daily, there increase not only the washing costs ", according to meininghaus.
Whether it’s bleaching or a temporary step cut, all hair treatments can be offered again. Facial treatments such as eyelash tinting, eyebrow plucking and beard trimming are still prohibited. Face-to-face contact to be kept to a minimum. Customers are happy to accept the requirements if it means getting their shaggy heads back into shape. No trace of restraint or fear of infection. "The customers are so happy that they can get to it. Some even found out the private numbers of the employees and called them to ask if they could cut their hair secretly. Of course, no one did", meininghaus tells.
Masks make work more difficult
But the mask requirement causes problems for customers and hairdressers alike. "A woman wanted to take the mask off her face again and again. We had to admonish her several times, but she said she couldn’t breathe.", meininghaus tells the story. Krampert also struggles with the mask, which has to completely cover his mouth and nose from the beginning to the end of his shift. The warm fohn air in the salon causes her to sweat immediately under the solid fabric. "I had the mouthguard on for half an hour yesterday and immediately kopeh. We got one for the whole team with a logo on it, but the rubber is so tight that after a few hours we all had to put cotton balls between our ears and the rubber."
Despite the omnipresent protective measures, the atmosphere in the salon is almost like it used to be. Only at the funeral and at the farewell do we notice how much corona has changed the way we interact with each other. "It’s a strange feeling not to be allowed to shake hands with regular customers who have been with us for years, not to be able to hug them. You have to remember this with every customer."
The hairdressing profession is systemically relevant
But the corona crisis also has its positive side, reports master hairdresser meininghaus: "people are delighted that the salons are allowed to open. The industry will benefit from the current situation. Because it shows that the hairdressing profession is an important and highly valued profession." Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the industry, which had often been laughed at, has experienced a real boom in customers and job seekers, says meininghaus. In his function as head of the hairdressing school, the master hairdresser has received dozens of inquiries from professions outside the industry in recent weeks. "Many from other professions get cold feet and want to retrain as hairdressers."