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Raymond, 70, said he can’t wait to reopen his two salons in Edinburgh after being forced to close for the longest period in his 50 year career.
Raymond Edinburgh Hairdressers in Comiston Rd in Morningside and Whitehouse Rd in Barnton both had their last appointments on Christmas Eve.
Raymond said: “I’ve been working in Morningside for 50 years and I’m as keen now as the day I started. I’ve lived and worked through a lot but nothing like lockdown. It’s been a worry.
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“We’ve been lucky to survive on grants and tightening my own belt, while the furlough scheme has been excellent for staff, but I’ve missed working — it’s a way of life. Christmas Eve was our last appointment, so we are delighted to be going back.
“We’ve made a lot of phone calls since the First Minister announced the date for reopening — of course everybody wants a haircut on the first day because they’ve been waiting for so long.
“From clients who were already booked in when we closed to new bookings through our website, we’re now full into the fifth week, and we’ve still got emails to attend to.
“I’m sure there will be a number of awkward fringes to repair.”
Raymond, who has 12 staff and is in the process of recruiting two more, has taken an array of measures, from removing a number of seats and installing screens to ordering in PPE and cleaning products, to ensure staff and clients are comfortable to return.
He said: “People are desperate to get their hair done but it’s important that everyone feels happy and safe.
“It will be different. Both salons have lots of space but we’ve taken half the chairs out and put screens up in some places. We’ve extended all the appointments to allow for a cleaning process in between and bought PPE and extra cleaning products.
“Every gown that somebody wears will go straight in the bin afterwards — I’ve just ordered 2000 of them — and we have chlorine tablets like they use in surgeries to wipe everything down.
“I’ve just got 20 cases of rubber gloves and we’ve bought 180 new towels.”
Raymond added: “It’s been difficult but in many ways I’m very lucky and I appreciate what I’ve got. You hear about people who have lost their lives or their loved ones, and suffered other losses.
“My wife, Gail, is a practice nurse working extraordinarily hard on the front line. It makes you appreciate the NHS more than ever.”
Hairdressers were confirmed as being among the first premises to be allowed to reopen following First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s long-awaited announcement on March 16.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister announced the phased reopening of the economy, including shops, hospitality, gyms and hairdressers.
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Following that, it is hoped that the easing of restrictions will happen in three-week periods, starting from today, then 26 April and then 17 May.
All hairdressers in the country will reopen at the same time.
Today also marks the phased reopening of non-essential retail, including click and collect services, homeware stores, car showrooms and forecourts.