Hair salons among Manitoba businesses given the green light to reopen Monday

Winnipeg Barber Joe Porco. Facebook / Tony's Barber Shop

With the province of Manitoba set to begin easing some restrictions as part of a phased reopening of the economy on Monday, some business owners are looking forward to finally opening their doors to customers again.

Among the businesses — previously deemed non-essential amid the coronavirus pandemic — that are able to begin reopening next week are hair salons.

Joe Porco of Tony’s Barber Shop told 680 CJOB he’s ready to get back to business after being off since a week before closures were mandated.

“I miss it,” he said. “I’ll just take the proper precautions and just go back to work.”

Maintaining a degree of physical distancing won’t be an issue for Porco, as his shop offers a one-on-one experience.

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“It’s just myself in the shop, I’ve got no staff, (so) at any one time, there’ll just be myself and one client. I go by appointment only.

“All my appointments are already pre-booked… I know everyone personally, and hopefully they don’t come in if they’re not feeling well.”

Porco said he weathered the COVID-19 storm thanks in part to some money set aside in a rainy-day fund, but he’s glad he can reopen and has been busy re-booking his appointments.

“There were messages every morning asking when I was going to open and what was going on,” he said.

“I was on the phone for about three hours (Wednesday)… My next week is booked from Monday to Saturday — and I don’t usually work Saturdays, so it’s going to be busy for sure.”

Sherry Normandeau, co-owner of City Looks Salon, Spa and Wig Centre, has a different challenge: operating a business that typically serves multiple clients at once.

“We’re a fairly large-size community spa and hair salon and wig centre in the heart of Charleswood,” said Normandeau, “so we will open the hair side with great caution and abide by all the rules with great hopes and anticipation that the remaining aspects of our business will start to welcome guests back.”

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Normandeau told 680 CJOB that City Looks has been keeping in touch with its clients over the course of the pandemic, and updating them on new information and protocols as they’ve become available.

The salon itself, she said, has been reconfigured to accommodate social distancing, and appointment times have been spaced out “immensely.”

“We have been champing at the bit with anticipation since the beginning of April, listening to what’s been going on in the different provinces.

“We’ve been prepping the space with anticipation that these would be the guidelines, so we are fully ready.

“Our business will still be severely damaged as far as revenue but at least at this point we’ll start to be climbing out of that hole.”

Prep Hair is also reopening on Monday, but appointments will look different than usual. Co-owner Allison Marinelli says they’ll be operating at a limited capacity and removing their waiting area.

“Every guest will have to wear their own mask and gloves and sanitize upon entering. No food or drink allowed, no magazines…. It sounds really boring and awful,” she laughed. “But I think [we’re] just excited to see each other and be back, I think it will be okay. Everyone just wants their hair done so I think they’ll do whatever they have to do for it.”
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Marinelli says they were still surprised it happened so quickly.

“We were pretty surprised, we thought we’ve be given a little bit more of a warning and we didn’t think it would be this soon,” she said, adding that they had been planning for it for a number of weeks.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba to implement phased reopening starting May 4'
Coronavirus: Manitoba to implement phased reopening starting May 4

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