How one Northamptonshire business has prepared to shut up shop for lockdown two

Hairdressers have been classed as non-essential and will close their doors on Thursday, November 5 for a month

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 6:00 am

As England goes back into lockdown, with all but essential shops allowed to open to customers, business owners across the county are preparing to lock up for lockdown.

Bike shops, hardware stores, banks, pharmacies, post offices, garden centres and pet shops can remain open but hair salons such as Through the Looking Glass in Irthlingborough High Street will be closing for the second time on Thursday.

Clare Kearns-Gray started working at the shop in 1990 and took over the business 10 years ago but will have to close down for the second time in a year furloughing herself and stylist, Lucy Steel-Thomas.

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Clare said: "My dad passed away during the last lockdown so it allowed me to help my mum, so it was a blessing in a way so I could be there for them.

"Mum lost her sister and her brother-in-law too. I spent the time with mum and if I had been at work it would have been impossible to help her with all the online forms."

Clare closed down the salon on March 23, re-opening on July 4, the business surviving on a £10,000 grant from the council and helped by furlough money for staff.

She said: "Last week was the first time I had actually made a profit since we re-opened. I've had a wage cut and Lucy had her hours cut, just to keep it going.

Clare Kearns-Gray owner of Through the Looking Glass with client Gary Woodman and stylist Lucy Steel-Thomas

"People had been scared to come out. We had just started to get back to normal and then lockdown was announced."

Customers had been flocking to have their hair cut before lockdown with opening hours extended to deal with the demand.

Client Donna Mitchell contracted Covid-19 in April - her sense of taste and smell has not returned back to normal.

She said: "I'm not really looking forward to lockdown two. Schools will still be open with parents picking up and dropping off their children.

Client Donna Mitchell with stylist Lucy Steel-Thomas

"I wouldn't want anyone to have Covid like I did. Until there's a vaccine it's going to be difficult."

57-year-old Gary Woodman usually has his haircut every three weeks and had only last week come in for a trim but came in again for a pre-lockdown wash and cut.

He said: "I work from home. I live on my own. In a way it's not going to be any different for me. It's a bit strange. I need to go to see someone in Wales for work. Before I couldn't go because they were in lockdown, now they are coming out of lockdown and we are going in.

"In the first lockdown I was really bored. If we have a four-month lockdown in the winter then who knows. I think the lockdown will be lifted for two weeks for Christmas.

Clare finishes client Joan Smith's hair

"Everyone needs to be careful so at the end of the day we can get out of this."

Hairdresser Lucy Steel-Thomas has friends who have just started at university and is glad she did not choose to go.

She said: "They are all just sitting in their rooms, I don't feel like I'm missing out on a student experience."

On Thursday morning the salon will be quiet again with Clare and Lucy unable to work meanwhile eager customers have been calling to book appointments for December.

Clare added: "The bills will still need to be paid. Lockdown doesn't stop them. Electricity, my radio licence, insurance, phone bill.

"I am pretty certain that this lockdown will be extended and last three months until January."

The salon on the High Street