A HAIRDRESSER who has moved from the Paget Rooms to Herbert Terrace says she has received some surprising messages from people who think she is new to the area.

Joanna Christou, who has been at Backstage Hair in the Paget Rooms for 15 years, was forced to move and chose to relocate to what was Dotty Pots.

Ms Christou has changed the name of the premises to “Hair at Six” and opened last Wednesday, but says she was surprised by some messages she received suggesting she is new.

“I just want to say I’m not new and I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes,” she said. “I’ve decided to expand my business and it coincided with needing to leave the Paget Rooms.

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“It seemed a good opportunity, I’ve managed to create some more jobs and we have a bigger space to be able to socially distance.”

It’s been a challenging period for Ms Christou, who has seen a decrease in the number of elderly clients, but she still has 250 customers on her books.

“I think people are feeling vulnerable and some have lost the confidence to come to the hairdressers,” she said. “But this gives me a chance to make sure we are absolutely ready, and with a big clientele I feel this location is better for me to tackle lockdown. I’m more visible here.”

While Ms Christou spent much of the last lockdown unable to work, she has since faced significant backlogs.

“We’ve been working a lot more hours for the same money,” she added. “Because of the Covid-proofing procedures we can only do so many customers at one time.

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“It means a cut and blow dry, which might ordinarily take 30 minutes, is taking an hour – and then I’m having to clean. With the costs of PPE, it all adds up.”

Asked whether she is fearful of a second closure for hairdressers, she says she sees no reason why that should be the case.

“I think places should be judged individually if cases continue to rise. We’ve got everything in place to keep people safe.

"It would be terrible to go back. With the backlogs I worked six days a week, 12 hours a day. We need to be open.”