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Some Saskatoon hairstylists say they won’t open at the start of phase 2

Some Saskatoon hair stylists and barbers will not open their doors on May 19 because they're concerned about safety measures and PPE supplies.
Some Saskatoon hair stylists and barbers will not open their doors on May 19 because they're concerned about safety measures and PPE supplies. AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Several Saskatoon barbers and stylists say they will not open their doors despite being allowed to reopen on May 19.

Three owners joined the Saskatchewan New Democrats’ May 7 press conference concerned over unclear instructions for opening their services.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan to start reopening from the coronavirus pandemic on May 4

The NDP is asking the Saskatchewan Party to delay phase 2 given confusion and uncertainty from business owners.

The owner of Manestreet Hair isn’t planning on opening at the start of phase two because of concerns that her staff won’t have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to last through the social distancing measures.

“If we do have to close again, whether it’s because of no PPE or there is something traced back to a salon or person who has visited a salon unrelated to us, what’s going to happen from the government to help support that?” Megan Gustafson said.

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High Noon Barber noted even if they did get their hands on PPE, she’s concerned about instructions for the equipment.

“I think a lot of people are really focusing on PPE supply when it really doesn’t matter if we can get it, if we don’t know how to use it or if we think we know and we’re not,” owner Julia Darling said.

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Both Darling and Kara Firman, who owns Guide Hair Salon, said they don’t plan to open until phase 3 when other businesses like nail salons, tattoo parlours and tanning services reopen.

“This is putting all of us in a really difficult position. Either we open and struggle with the safety risk, increased overhead cost and fewer customers, or we stay closed and face that ongoing loss of revenue,” Firman said.

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READ MORE: What you need to know as Saskatchewan starts first phase of reopen plan

The trade ministry said its business response team has worked with hair stylists about reopening including information for PPE suppliers and safety requirements for the reopen plan.

“Businesses and individuals offering personal services such as hair stylists, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists and acupressurists should wear PPE,” a statement from the province said.

The three Saskatoon owners said they’ve had mixed reactions from customers about wanting to wait to reopen.