After weeks of watching their locks get wild and unkempt, Austrians will again be allowed to visit the hairdresser from Monday, February 8th.
Hairdressers have been forced to close in Austria since December 24th.
The announcement was made on Monday, February 1st along with a range of other lockdown announcements.
However, in addition to wearing an FFP2 mask and a range of other coronavirus safety measures, Austrians must also present a negative coronavirus test.
Children from the age of 10 will require a test.
Here’s what you need to know.
Hairdressers, tattoos and beauty services again allowed from February 8th – but only with a negative test
In addition, ‘body hugging service providers’ – i.e. hairdressers, tattooists and cosmetic services – will again be allowed to open.
These services will be subject to strict hygiene measures, such as FFP2 masks, maximum numbers of people per square metre and the recording of contact details.
People will also be required to show a negative coronavirus test which is less than 48 hours old.
“Here we will rely on the concept of entrance tests,” the chancellor said.
Wolfgang Eder, spokesman for the hairdressing peak body in Austria, said he was satisfied with the rules: “It is important that we open up! The entrance tests for our customers have to be as easy as in schools.”
Hairdressers themselves have also been happy, saying that they've filled up almost immediately with bookings.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's hairdresser in Vienna told Austrian media that he was booked out for the next five weeks following the announcement.
There are more than 9,000 salons with more than 17,000 employees in Austria.
How will it work?
Anyone going to a ‘body-hugging service provider’ will need to present a negative coronavirus test which is less than 48 hours old.
Known in Austria as ‘entry tests’, this is the first step in a broader scheme to require people to show negative tests in various locations, including bars, restaurants, clubs, events and sports games.
The tests can either be a PCR or an antigen (i.e. rapid) test.
The main proviso is that the test be carried out by a medical professional.
This can be at a pharmacy, however 'self-tests' which are done at home will not count.
Who bears the cost of the test?
Contrary to some reports, hairdressers and business owners will not bear the cost of coronavirus tests themselves.
The responsibility for getting tested falls on the person who wants to visit a hairdresser or beautician, but that does not necessarily mean they must bear the cost.
Austria has put in place an extensive free ‘mass testing’ scheme to target clusters of the virus.
As a result, free tests are available all over the country, including at pharmacies and at numerous ‘testing streets’ in larger cities and towns.
Do hairdressers, beauticians etc also need to get tested?
Yes. Hairdressers and all other body-hugging service providers need to be tested “at least once a week,” said Anschober in an interview.
Who will check that the tests are legit?
The company itself – i.e. the hairdresser/tattooist – will be required to check that the tests are legitimate.
Police and health authorities will be carrying out random checks to make sure everyone is sticking to the rules.
What about if I had the virus and recovered?
Anyone who has contracted coronavirus in the past six months and recovered does not need to complete a test, although you will need to provide evidence of your infection.
Are there any other rules?
As with most indoor areas in Austria, an FFP2 mask must be worn when visiting body-hugging services.
In addition, businesses will be restricted as to how many customers they are allowed in.
Only one person will be allowed per 20 square metres – the same restriction which applies in retail.
If the business area is less than 20 square metres, then only one customer will be allowed.