Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on hairdressers and clients alike not to engage on the black market to protect their health and the industry as a whole.
Deputy McGrath made his calls after fears continue to mount over the ever-growing black market hairdressing industry and the effects that this will have on the health of clients and on the future prospects of genuine hairdressers who continue to abide by the regulations.
“I have been contacted by a number of very concerned hairdressers and barbers who are struggling with the ongoing closures and are fearful for their future business prospects as they witness their clients flock to the black market as many hairdressers continue to operate illegally at home or in salons despite the best efforts of Gardaí trying to monitor the situation.
There are large amounts of very genuine hairdressers who closed their salons even prior to the introduction of the lockdown in a bid to protect their staff and clients. They have remained closed for the last eight weeks and during this time, many have invested in safety upgrades in their salons installing safety screens and other measures to ensure that social distancing can be adhered to where possible when they reopen, but they are now fearful for their very future as they witness many hairdressers continue to operate on the black market.
This situation is not only dangerous as no safety standards can be ensured but it is also reckless for the industry as a whole as the date for re-opening is pushed out to July 20th at present. Many of these salons continue to have monthly rents, mortgages or loan repayments, insurance repayments and so on and are facing upto four months of closure and while they abide by the regulations and carry out safety measures they watch their clients flock to the black market and worry about when or if they will ever be in a position to re-open.
This situation has to be addressed. There has to be an acknowledgement from government that the black market is operating and continuing to grow which flies in the face of the very reason for the lockdown in the first place and that unless some form of action is taken many genuine salons will never re-open.
I am appealing to hairdressers and citizens not to engage in the black market. I appreciate that it is very frustrating for many but by doing so you are not only putting your own health at risk but also putting the livelihoods of thousands of genuine hairdressers and barbers who are abiding by the regulations at risk. At the same time I am asking the government to re-examine the situation to see if there is anyway that salons can re-open earlier than July 20th if safety measures can be adhered to.” Concluded Deputy McGrath