Three out of four hairdressers in Australia had to close their doors as the COVID-19 pandemic kept people at home.
The Australian Hairdressing Council has surveyed 360 of its member businesses about the pandemic's impact on them, publishing the results in a report on Wednesday.
Some 263 salons closed due to COVID-19, with 32.1 per cent closing for between five and twelve weeks. One in ten closed for between three and six months.
One in five salons said they had to terminate staff due to a downturn or closure.
More than half the salons surveyed had employees miss work due to COVID-19 testing, and almost one-third had staff in isolation at some stage.
The pandemic hit the bottom line, with a whopping 87.1 per cent meeting the requirements for JobKeeper payments. However, by the time of the JobKeeper extension in September, only 22.4 per cent were eligible.
In total, 66.4 per cent said that turnover was down compared to the 2019 calendar year.
Hairdressers have been hit by different rules throughout the pandemic and the country. Just this month, they were again forced to close in Victoria as the state entered a snap lockdown.
But the businesses were largely exempted from nationwide restrictions last March, despite the federal government ordering the closure of non-essential businesses.
While beauty salons had to close, hairdressers could open if they kept to four square metres per person.
At one point in March 2020, the federal government said hairdresser appointments could last no longer than 30 minutes - a rule that was quickly abandoned.
Business owners confessed to feeling stressed, with 79.4 per cent of respondents saying they experienced stress due to uncertainty. More than one-third experienced mental health issues.
The outlook is sunny for some, with 32.7 per cent of respondents saying they feel very positive about their business coming into 2021. But almost the exact same number of respondents said they were anxious.
"This report will be shared with the industry and government bodies to assist and understand our industry in the future during challenging times," Australian Hairdressing Council chief executive Sandy Chong said.
Australian Associated Press