‘I looked like Robinson Crusoe’: Germans flock to get a haircut as salons reopen

Helmut Wichter had been desperate for a haircut for weeks as hair salons were shut in Germany to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

'I looked like Robinson Crusoe': Germans flock to get a haircut as salons reopen
A hairdresser cutting a man's hair in Berlin on Monday after salons reopened. Photo: AFP

“I looked like Robinson Crusoe,” said the 87-year-old, who joined crowds flocking to salons early Monday as they reopened their doors.

“I came here this morning and saw that there were already young people standing outside,” Wichter told AFP, as he finally emerged clean shaven from a barber in Berlin.

Many Germans had been left lamenting the state of their hair since mid-March, with some resorting to the black market to meet their grooming needs.

READ ALSO: Hair salons in Germany reopen on Monday – but with strict rules

In late April, police busted two illegal hairdressers in basements in the Bavarian district of Miltenberg.

One in seven people also resorted to cutting their own locks during the period, according to a survey by YouGov commissioned by national news agency DPA.

But Monday saw the start of a new phase of the virus fightback in Europe's biggest economy, with salons allowed to open once again along with some schools, museums, zoos, churches and playgrounds.

A hairdresser in Munich. Photo: AFP

Hairdressers have also reopened in Iceland, Slovenia and Greece as many European countries begin to tentatively ease lockdown measures designed to contain the virus.

At another barber a few streets away, Galep Atmaca, 15, showed up at 8 am.

“I feel uncomfortable with my hair right now,” he said, a crop of dark curls sticking out from beneath his hoodie.

Business is booming for barber Ramazan Uzun, 27, whose Cut 36 salon in Berlin's Kreuzberg district is nearly fully booked for the week.

“People are keen to have a proper haircut,” he said.

Hairdressers and their customers are required to wear face masks, and customers must be seated no closer than 1.5 metres apart, with many allowing only a couple of people inside at a time.

Despite the measures, Uzun is still concerned as he lives with his parents and is worried about them getting infected.

“But we have to make a living somehow,” he said. “If we get infected it's not a problem, but then when we go home and our kids and parents are at home, that does make you a bit scared.”

By Femke Colborne

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German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tested positive for the coronavirus and is displaying mild symptoms after returning from a tour of the Gulf, his spokesman said Monday.

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

The 64-year-old Social Democrat is isolating in his apartment in the chancellery, and will attend meetings online, spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

At the weekend, he visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on a hunt for new energy sources after Russia cut gas supplies amid tensions over the Ukraine war.

He signed a deal Sunday for the UAE to supply natural gas and diesel to Germany.

READ ALSO: UAE to supply Germany with gas and diesel 

Meanwhile Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, also of the SPD, announced via Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive for Covid.