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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C People queuing outside a Grafton Barbers shop in Drumcondra at 12.50am.

Barbers and hairdressers say it's 'Christmas on steroids' - some even organised midnight openings

Across the country, people got their first hair cut in months.

THERE WERE QUEUES outside barbers from midnight, as Phase Three came into effect, and men waited to get their first hair cut in several months.

There were also queues outside several hairdressers first thing today as people finally got the chance to get their lockdown locks cut.

Hugh McAllister, the owner of the country-wide Grafton Barber chain, told that between 50 to 60 people were queued outside many shops.

On Grafton Street, staff didn’t finish cutting hair until nearly 4am.

“We were looking at the weather, thinking it’ll be a non-runner,” McAllister said. But by 10.45pm last night, 20 to 30 people were waiting outside barber shops in Dublin.

“People are on a mission,” he said.

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And while he admits that photos of queues outside barber shops is good publicity after months of pandemic-enforced closure, he said that the midnight opening served a useful purpose.

“It was really just to give us a dry run, to see what problems we’d come up with,” he said. 

Alongside barbers and hairdressers, gyms, pools and cinemas are also allowed to open while small congregations can attend church services again.

Many pubs will also open today.

Beauty salons, spas, tattoo/piercing facilities and more are able to open their doors from today. The early reopening of hairdressers has been welcomed by the Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF).

“For the past three months we have been working tirelessly on preparing our guidelines for reopening the sector safely and responsibly, working with expert advisers and engaging with government,” the IHF said after the announcement.  

However, some customers might see an increase in price for their usual ‘do for additional costs related to Covid-19 such as PPE. 

At Grafton Barber branches, customers will have to provide details in case of contact tracing, while staff are wearing face masks and face shields. Surfaces are sanitised and gowns are disposable.

Staff found it “difficult”, he said – but 90% were wearing the face shields.

McAllister also said that he was surprised how few people arrived to get a hair cut without wearing a mask.

He said that he mask-wearing wouldn’t be mandatory, but staff would be encouraging it.

“We can’t force them, but we’re kind of asking them,” said McAllister. “It’s uncharted territory, so we want to make it as comfortable as possible.”


No one knows how long the rush will last for. Judging by the experience in other countries, McAllister thinks there could be a “solid burst” for two weeks, when he expects it to be like “Christmas on steroids”.

After seven weeks, with no major spikes in cases, he thinks trade might return to normal.

In Athy, Co Kildare, Kathleen Grufferty was one of the first back into the hairdressing chairs at the House of LA salon.

“I’m very excited to be back and feel normal again,” she said.

“I was in at 9am this morning, it was great – one of the first.”

With reporting from Press Association

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