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Coronavirus: Rush for haircuts in Denmark as lockdown eases

A hairdresser in Denmark, 20 April 2020 Image copyright Reuters Image caption Hairdressers are among small businesses allowed to reopen in Denmark

Danes can now get a haircut at a salon for the first time in a month, as the Nordic country takes the next step to gradually relax its coronavirus lockdown.

"We are crazy busy. I mean fully booked for the next two weeks," says Phil Olander, owner of Phil's Barber in central Copenhagen.

The move, announced on Friday, has triggered a rush of appointments. Mr Olander says his booking system crashed because it was flooded with enquiries.

Another hairdresser told me she's fully booked for the next three weeks and will work extended hours to meet demand.

Other businesses including tattoo parlours, beauticians, dentists and opticians are now permitted to reopen. Driving lessons are also allowed. Each has new health guidelines to follow.

"We have to do a clean-up between every client," says Mr Olander. "So that's sanitising each station, the tools, everything from the doorknob to the credit card reader. So it's a lot of extra work."

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The waiting area has been rearranged to have more space, and there are no longer magazines to read.

"I just felt like I need a haircut and this is my place to come," says customer Christian Rikhof.

He feels comfortable about the restrictions being lifted. "I think they have it under control and I have trust in them."

Most hair salons seemed ready for their first day back. In my local neighbourhood, the first ten salons I walked past all had their doors open. However, precautions taken vary by salon.

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Ayse Akkaya, owner of Hair Kompagniet, wears a face mask and visor while she works.

After a month without income, she is relieved to be open again. But she says not all customers are ready to come back. "Young people come. I have these [appointments]. Old people are not coming."

Denmark was one of the first European countries to announce a lockdown and is now among the first slowly relaxing it.

Last Wednesday the country's youngest children returned to primary and nursery schools.

Other restrictions remain in place until at least 10 May. The borders are closed and gatherings are limited to 10 people.

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