VIENNA: Austrian hairdressers came out of lockdown this week grappling with coronavirus testing and capacity restrictions: the city's pampered dogs, however, have long had no trouble getting a trim.
Dog salons were allowed to stay open throughout the last two of Austria's three lockdowns, and there is no requirement for owners to show a negative coronavirus test result as they would at the hairdresser.
"Since the previous lockdown my wife has just cut my hair occasionally with clippers," said Roland Vitecek with his 10-year-old Yorkshire Terrier Lili at the Zirkusgasse Dog Salon.
"It is a bigger priority for the dog to get groomed," he conceded while booking Lili an appointment for a wash, brush, trim and blow dry.
The salon's owner Grazyna Jedrasiak said the closure during the first lockdown from mid-March to mid-April created a backlog, meaning it then had "twice the work". Now business is slower than usual as some customers are worried about getting infected or are out of work, she said.
"My dog was the first one (of us) to get a full salon treatment," Zlatka Cular said with her six-year-old dog Archie, also a Yorkshire Terrier. "I unfortunately didn't get time to go to the hairdresser's so I'm going in two days."
The requirement to present a negative coronavirus test no more than 48 hours old to get a haircut has caused a rush to testing centres. The last lockdown lasted more than six weeks.
"Sometimes people are not as well groomed as their dogs because the dogs come to me every six to eight weeks but the people haven't been to the hairdresser in a longer time. That will probably still take a while because with the testing now they also won't get an appointment straight away," Jedrasiak said.
(Reporting by Lisi Niesner; Writing by Francois Murphy; Editing by Janet Lawrence)