NSW is out of lockdown, hitting the 70 per cent vaccination double dose rate and celebrating “freedom day” on October 11.

With this milestone, hair salons could open with a maximum of five clients, using the 4sqm rule, with continued mask usage and for vaccinated staff and clients.

It was a celebratory day as salons in Sydney opened after three and a half months of closure. News crews piled into salons, waiting lines stretched around blocks and salons even opened at midnight to mark the occasion. It is estimated consumers spent a combined $5 million on hair services on just October 11 alone. Lockdown continues to teach how vital professional hair is to consumers, and this Harbour City reunion was another example of that significance.

We spoke to a handful of prominent salon owners and hairdressers about what the day meant to Sydney hair salons.

Alan Buki, Alan Buki Hair

It was an almost surreal experience to finally open and welcome clients after 106 days of lockdown! We decided to not wait a minute longer than legally allowed to and opened for trade at 12:01am on October 11. My staff and I worked a 21-hour marathon to meet client demand. It was an exhilarating experience and so rewarding to hear the feedback and see the genuine happiness on the faces of our clients.

Tom Cole, Tom Cole Hair

After constant uncertainty and being closed for so long, considering my new salon was only open for three months before the last lockdown, it has been incredibly tough on my new business and new team. We are just so excited to be able to offer appointments again. One of my head stylists Dane is booked out until after Christmas 2022.

Terri Robertson-Kirkwood, Robertson-Kirkwood

As I write this we have just opened at 7 am this morning. We had a busy two weeks making sure the salon was ready, but more importantly that the team knew the procedures and protocols. We did not sleep well last night, with a mix of excitement and a little anxiety,

The feeling of being in the salon, with music on and the team so happy to see each other and the clients’ joy as they walked in the door, has been exciting and emotional.

The reality of working in a mask again has kicked in and we had someone pop in for retail, which took time with sign in and proof of vaccination. It has been a long four months and there was a feeling of “let’s get at it”, but four months has created questions of “are we ready? Are we safe?”. I am exhausted and it’s only 2pm.

It’s going to take more moral support to get the team through the next few weeks than when we were in lockdown, but we are back and doing what we love.

Travis Bandiera, Royals Hair

My job, since the day I have started it, has fuelled me with an unbelievable amount of drive. Throughout this lockdown I was definitely tested mentally, however the moment the roadmap to the end of lockdown was in sight I have been absolutely thriving. The huge task of opening sounded overwhelming but it has been an awesome task and I am so excited to get back on the floor, to see my beautiful teammates and catch up with my amazing clients!

Lisa Muscat, é SALON

Today was such an incredible day, beyond what we could have imagined. The vibe was amazing and the team and clients were just so happy and excited to be together again. It felt great doing what we love and creating beautiful hair again. We’ve been blessed with our clients and the gratitude in which they shared with us today. Today we must say was truly a day to be grateful for.

Elio Notarianni, Stylish Notts Hair Design

Opening up for me is about the freedom, as that’s what life is about, living life to the fullest! Three months of not seeing my valued clients has given me this adrenaline in getting back to work for 13 days straight doing what I love, and putting smiles back on their faces, which is what has made my business what it is today. We are hopefully putting the lockdown behind us and moving on.