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Coronavirus: Hair salons await answers from Manitoba provincial government

The Sapphire Hair Lounge is closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sapphire Hair Lounge is closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instagram/hairbymisskellyo

Manitoba hairstylists are calling on the province to shut down salons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly O’Leary, co-owner of The Sapphire Hair Lounge, decided to close last week without direction from the Manitoba government, while some other salons remain open.

“We were kind of waiting to get the official announcement that we should be able to shut down because there’s been a little bit of controversy on whether people should keep working or close,” O’Leary said.

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Salons are not specifically mentioned under the current public health orders, but the Manitoba government is recommending salons do not provide services to anyone with a respiratory illness, or those who should be self isolating.

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Stylists should also maintain strict hand hygiene and ensure good social distancing between patrons, according to the province.

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The owner of one salon that is currently open told Global News it is taking the recommendations a step further by spacing out the chairs and limiting the number of appointments.

Still, that doesn’t sound like proper social distancing to O’Leary.

“Think about someone that does somebody’s lashes, you’re right in their face,” she said.

“Our barber that has to give beard trims, you’re in somebody’s mouth. It’s completely contradictory with what they’re saying.”

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O’Leary hopes a mandatory order to close from the province will also clear clear up some confusion when it comes to collecting government funds.

“We don’t know if there’s going to be a grey area where we are all denied benefits and basically stuck drowning without a net,” she said.

On Wednesday, Manitoba’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brent Roussin hinted at reviewing the current guidelines.

“As we see the increasing community-based transmission in other jurisdictions and as we see our numbers rise, we are going to be taking further steps,” Roussin said.