The opening of hair salons is a key symbol of the slow return to normality from lockdown

News Letter editorial of Saturday April 24 2021:

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 8:00 am
News Letter editorial

Of all the closures during lockdown, the shutting of hairdressers was one of the ones that most upset the public.

It was of course only an inconvenience, and of far lesser significance than the closure of schools or suspension of non Covid medical treatments. But even men who pay little attention to their haircut came to feel frustrated at the fact they could not go to barber.

The reopening of hair salons yesterday was therefore a key symbol of a return to normality.

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For people who work in the hair industry it is the beginning of the end of disastrous period for their livelihoods. And for other sectors of the economy, such as hospitality, some urgently needed hint of normality is on the horizon.

The impact of lockdown has been distributed is a grossly unfair way. A public sector worker in a white collar job, for example, has not only enjoyed ease of work from home and full employment but no risk whatsoever to that employment and in many cases pay rises.

At a time of limited budget, Stormont is now going to have to focus its financial support on the worst hit. This might mean trimming public expenditure in other areas.

But even in a time of extreme financial pressure there has been little sign that MLAs are willing to take difficult but essential decisions such as streamline health provision in order to improve NHS care, something experts have advised for 20 years and is all the more urgent now.

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Alistair Bushe