Irish hairdressers and barbers are set to reopen on June 29, three weeks earlier than originally set out in the Irish Government's roadmap to exiting COVID-19 lockdown. 

The Government is working towards an agreement to move the reopening forward from July 20, according to numerous sources. 

However, nothing has been decided yet and the National Public Health Emergency (NPHET) is slated to reassess the issue over the next week and a half. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that salons and barbers could reopen earlier than planned in an interview with RTÉ2FM on Wednesday and said that he expected talks to be completed this week. 

The hair industry employs more than 25,000 people in Ireland and the Irish Hairdresser's Federation (IHF) has proposed more than 100 measures to ensure that salons and barbers are safe when they reopen, including allocating specific times for appointments and screening clients prior to an appointment. 

Read more: Coronavirus live updates: Northern Ireland goes four days with no COVID deaths

The IHF is additionally proposing that social distancing markers should be installed on salon floors and proposing that all salons and barbers remove any reading material for customers. 

All employees will be required to wear extensive PPE and undergo COVID-19, according to the document. 

The IHF is also proposing a number of contact tracing measures in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 visiting a salon. The proposal suggests logging every visit to a salon or barber so that customers can be easily reached if a staff member or another customer tests positive for COVID-19. 

Danielle Kennedy, president of the IHF, told the Irish Times that the proposals "go above and beyond" the Government's advice. 

The IHF additionally claims that hairdressers and barbers reopened after six to eight weeks of lockdown in most parts of Europe. They would be closed for a total of 18 weeks in Ireland if they remained shuttered until July 20 as planned. 

Read more: Irish hairdresser develops special social distancing chair to protect customers from COVID-19

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