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Coronavirus: Hair stylists and barbers worry about long-term harm to industry, do-it-yourself cuts

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Hair stylists warn against do-it-yourself ‘dos, worry about future of industry' Coronavirus: Hair stylists warn against do-it-yourself ‘dos, worry about future of industry
WATCH ABOVE: A month into self-isolation due to COVID-19, people are beginning to take their hair into their own hands. Caryn Lieberman reports on what professional hair stylists are saying – Apr 15, 2020

When it comes to your hair during the COVID-19 pandemic, hair stylist Violet Volovik told Global News, she is encouraging people to “show their roots.”

“If pieces over here are making you crazy,” said Volovik, pointing to her own hair. “Cut it, we’ll figure it out, just don’t go crazy!”

READ MORE: Should you cut your own hair during the new coronavirus pandemic? Most experts say no

The co-owner of Bob + Paige salon on Danforth Avenue in Toronto has received a few calls from clients asking for advice.

“A lot of people saying they’re going to be wearing their toques!” she said.

Volovik has encouraged clients to use a powder to blend or wrap their hair if need be.

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“They say the earth is trying to cleanse itself right now and maybe this is a good time to give your hair a break,” she said.

A month into quarantine, locks are getting longer and roots are beginning to show, so people have taken to social media to show their do-it-yourself (DIY) attempts at cutting and colouring their hair.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: New website appeals for donations to Toronto businesses closed amid pandemic

Volovik’s business partner, stylist Frank Calandrino, had to rely on his wife for a haircut.

“My wife did my hair, who doesn’t do hair, so it’s been interesting. It’s not as easy as we make it look which is what I’m realizing now,” he laughed.

Post-pandemic makeovers will hopefully keep him and other stylists busy, but it’s the short-term pain that has the industry veterans concerned.

“I don’t think a lot of businesses will be able to sustain this, it may not be worth to sustain it,” he said. “Depending on the time frame there may just come a point when it’s not worth to continue I guess, so starting over is an option.

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Calandrino said he has heard of other salon owners considering “taking out their life savings because they refuse to lose their business.”

“We will open seven days a week if we have to, I will work baker and bar hours,” noted Volovik.

Meantime, a website and social media campaign has been launched by stylists and barbers across the country, to urge the federal government to provide relief to the beauty industry.

‘Save Canadian Beauty’ is asking Ottawa to “recognize the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the Canadian beauty industry and to support a debt-free initiative to provide relief for businesses in our industry.”

The website notes those in the beauty industry have two major things working against them.

“There is no option for hairstylists, barbers, aestheticians, nail techs, makeup artists, etc. to work from home,” and they are “more at risk than many other professions, as we work physically close to the public.”

Click to play video: 'Canadians resort to cutting their own hair amid COVID-19 pandemic' Canadians resort to cutting their own hair amid COVID-19 pandemic
Canadians resort to cutting their own hair amid COVID-19 pandemic – Apr 8, 2020

The campaign includes a suggested relief action plan, with demands such as forgiving commercial property taxes for the months, businesses are closed and issuing a government directive for rent and related costs to be paused temporarily, until the government relief is implemented.

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As Volovik sat in the middle of her usually packed salon, she looked around quietly and described what a weekday would usually look like there.

“Usually this place is bumpin’, the music is going, clients are in here, everyone is laughing, everyone is having a good time, this is strange, really really strange,” she said, adding, “Who knows how long this will last.”

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