“It’s a little TLC … it makes you feel like your old self,” said Streeter, a 50-year-old worker for the UK’s National Health Service.
Salons, pubs, restaurants, libraries, museums and cinemas opened on Saturday in England for the first time since the UK went into lockdown on March 23.
The grand reopening of England, dubbed “Super Saturday” by the media, was added to another place in the world to try to get the difficult balance of keeping the virus under control and starting the economy. (The semi-autonomous governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have set different timetables.)
A few days ago, the British Treasury tweeted ̵
Despite all the security measures – or perhaps because of them – early signs indicated that at least with hairdressers, rag-haired, unruly men, dye seekers and home-cut DIYers did not hold back.
“Trim-dependent day,” explained one BBC presenter, hair akimbo.
First of all: pub or clip?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose blonde mop is a well-known entity in his own right, referred to his plans for a haircut when he announced the lifting of the lockdown.
“Almost as long-awaited as a half bulb will be a hairstyle, especially of me,” he told Parliament.
Similar reopening rituals have taken place in Europe and elsewhere – as a result of the simple joy of just getting a haircut or getting some pub grub – in a slow return to a new kind of normality with social distance, masks and other precautions.
However, the UK is just in the beginning. It went into lockdown later than most European countries and comes out later. The spirit on Saturday seemed almost festive.
Celebrity hairdresser Richard Ward said his west London salon had a waiting list of 3,800 people.
“It’s crazy,” said Ward, who is known as one of Kate Middleton’s favorite stylists.
He said that in recent months clients have texted him and said things like, “‘I went up my color,’ ‘omg, my hair has turned green!’ “Can you give me advice on what color I get because my husband doesn’t know I’m gray.”
At Ward’s named salon, the scene buzzed, although the manager said they were only running at half capacity to help with social distance, recently relaxed from two feet to at least one meter. Customers had masks and had to take their temperature at the door. Stylists, who wore visors, met their client at the entrance. There were no magazines to browse. Only half of the workstations were used.
Some customers politely declined to be photographed and sent out to the world.
But others joined in on a socially distant chat and photography.
“It’s a massive, massive relief. I finally get to see civilized again, “laughed Rima Connelly, 55, a soon-to-be 100 percent blonde who sat in a chair with foils on her head. “Your hair, especially for women, is part of your identity. That’s how the outside world sees you. “
In a separate room, Annethe Nathan, 53, said it was “great to get a haircut” – what I’ve been looking forward to the most. “She did not cut her hair during the lockdown, but took a guy in her husband’s lock.
“He said it was the worst hairstyle he’s ever had,” she said.
There is no guarantee that the estimated demand will be enough to turn the fortunes of the British economy, among reports that it is heading into its worst recession in 300 years.
The government’s tough initiative has helped many companies stay afloat – but not all. And the industry is worried about what will happen when the first rush hour slows down.
“Yes, we will be incredibly busy for the next three, four weeks, but what the economic landscape will look like is anyone’s guess,” Ward said.
Nigel Darwin, CEO of Toni & Guy, which has more than 160 salons in England, was hopeful that people will continue to return in the pile as long as they feel safe.
“We are a service company. There are many things we can do in the digital world with our customers, but no one can deliver a haircut or hair color digitally, ”he said.
Katie Hancock, owner of The Salon salon in Canterbury, worked through the night after opening. And she plans to stay open every day to meet demand.
“I’ve seen some very interesting hairstyles,” she said of the homespun variety.
In some cases, she said, parents “rehearsed their children first to see how things are going. In other cases, you hear conversations like, ‘Oh, yes, it’s a little gray there, that’s my natural color dear.’
Streeter, the first client in the Canterbury salon, said she felt “very confident” during her hairstyle and would soon return to color, having had mixed success with one she bought in a supermarket. She and her husband, a cancer surgeon, joined other health professionals on Saturday night for a free stay at a local hotel.
She has been a Hancock customer for the past decade. The two would normally chat about “anything and everything” during a meeting. But this evening they decided not to talk too much, to be extra safe.
“And it was midnight anyway,” she said, “so it was pretty nice to be quiet.”