Hair salons, barber shops and other personal services are among the businesses that can reopen after the May long weekend, as cases of COVID-19 in B.C. continue to trend downward, and some business owners are expressing confusion at what’s expected.
The announcement came as a bit of shock, according to Greg Robins, the executive director for the Beauty Council of Western Canada, which represents an industry that has no regulator in B.C.
“Our members were absolutely deluged with requests for appointments last night,” Robins said. “We were expecting this to live out the length of the order, which was the end of this month.”
Stylists and other salon workers are asking plenty of questions on the Beauty Council Facebook page, such as where guidelines are coming from, if approvals are needed, and how to protect yourself from exposure when cutting someone’s hair.
WorkSafeBC is working with businesses in each industry, and will provide templates and best practices specific to each industry, according to Al Johnson, vice-president of the agency’s prevention services.
Officials have said businesses don’t require any sort of government approval to reopen, but need to make their policies visible to the public and keep them enforced.
“All employers in the province are required … to maintain a healthy and safe workplace for their workers, and they need to address the risks that are in and around the workplace,” Johnson said.
“So by extension…, we’re asking employers to put together plans so that they themselves and their workers are safe from COVID issues as they resume operation.”
The agency currently has a general guide on preventing exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
“We will be doing random inspections, as we did with those businesses that continue to operate as essential businesses, like the construction industry,” Johnson added.
Robins said hair salons are now preparing to welcome customers back for much-needed cuts and dye jobs — they’ll just need to be patient.
“People are just going to have to, I think, accept that it’s going to be a lot like shopping,” he said. “They’re going to either have to take a number, wait a little longer, perhaps not get as many services as they’re used to, (and) hold back a little bit.”
In addition, he said a visit to the salon will be much different.
“We’re expecting it to be more quiet, a little less music, less talking, possibly masks being worn, maybe even face shields in certain cases,” Robins said, adding that both customers and staff may be expected to wear masks.
WATCH: The plan to re-open B.C.