Mixed responses on lockdown from non-essential shops and hairdressers
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Mixed responses on lockdown from non-essential shops and hairdressers

Credit: Belga

Tighter restrictions are expected to be introduced after Wednesday’s Consultative Committee, and it has been suggested non-essential shops and hairdressers may be affected, which has resulted in mixed reviews from both sectors.

The professional federation of Belgian hairdressers, Febelhair, said it is not against a ‘short but hard lockdown’ if this means infection rates will be curbed, even though it will mean salons closing again less than two months after re-opening.

“The short, hard pain of a lockdown is something I would advocate for. If the numbers keep rising like this, people will no longer dare to come,” Chris Maenhout, a hairdresser from Ghent, who is the director at Febelhair, told De Standaard.

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Maenhout said hairdressers immediately noticed that there were rumours of a new lockdown in their bookings, as suddenly, appointments were booked again en masse, or booked appointments were being advanced.

One hairdresser, Tom Audoore, who has three salons in Ghent, Eeklo, and Knokke, said there is a general feeling of a slump in people going to hair salons.“There are no parties, you can’t go out to eat, everyone works at home. So why would people come to the hairdresser as often as they used to?” he said.

He added that he understands a new lockdown is inevitable but hopes that, in combination with the vaccination rollout, the hospitality industry can reopen again, “because only then will people want to make themselves beautiful again.”

On the prospect of non-essential shops closing, the union of independent fashion retailers, the Mode Unie, has asked the government ahead of the Consultative Committee to spare the sector, arguing there are hardly any infections after a visit to the shop.

“We have had a difficult year already, closing down again could be the deathblow for many retailers. If the shops have to close down again, we won’t pick it up at all and the summer will be completely lost,” director Isolde Delanghe told VRT News.

She predicted that there would be a 15 to 20% closure of shops, not only bankruptcies but also early closures, and added that 40% of workers are now on temporary unemployment.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times