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Regina salon owner says health inspector told her COVID-19 ‘not that bad’

Kayla Deics is the owner of Blk Hrt salon in Regina’s Cathedral Neighbourhood. Deics says a health inspector who visited her on Thursday refused to sanitize his hands before entering her business. .
Kayla Deics is the owner of Blk Hrt salon in Regina’s Cathedral Neighbourhood. Deics says a health inspector who visited her on Thursday refused to sanitize his hands before entering her business. . Photo courtesy of Jackie Hall Photography

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is investigating an incident after one of its health inspectors allegedly told a Regina salon owner COVID-19 is “not that bad.”

On Thursday, Kayla Deics, who owns Blk Hrt salon, got a visit from a health inspector who was dropping off his contact information along with policy and procedures for how the business should operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deics said she asked him to sanitize his hands as he entered her business, thinking he would want to tour around.

“He said ‘no.’ I said ‘you’re not going to sanitize your hands?’ And these were his exact words: ‘No, it’s not that bad,’” Deics said.

“I’m shaking and getting flustered because the health inspector is here telling me the virus is ‘not that bad.’”

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Phase 2 of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan begins

The health inspector left after exchanging his contact information. Deics reported him to the SHA and environmental health.

“They were horrified, and they need to be,” Deics said, adding the SHA has been very supportive and helpful following the incident.

In a statement to Global News, the SHA says they are aware of the complaint regarding the worker’s conduct at Blk Hrt.

“We have reviewed the concern and followed up with the person who raised the concern,” says a spokesperson for the SHA.

“Public health inspectors are currently visiting businesses that have recently reopened to ensure that guidelines are being followed to protect guests of these establishments, and appreciate the cooperation we have received from all business owners in complying with the requirements.”

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But Deics feels she’s getting mixed messages around proper procedures and guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Kayla Deics is the owner of Blk Hrt salon in Regina’s Cathedral Neighbourhood. Deics says a health inspector who visited her on Thursday refused to sanitize his hands before entering her business
Kayla Deics is the owner of Blk Hrt salon in Regina’s Cathedral Neighbourhood. Deics says a health inspector who visited her on Thursday refused to sanitize his hands before entering her business. Photo courtesy of Kayla Deics

For example, she says the health inspector showed up three days late with guidelines on how to safely operate — policy she had already put into place thanks to help from the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce.

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“I’m worried what I’m doing is over the top now, or what if it’s not enough? I felt so certain about all my policies, and now I feel like I know nothing again,” Deics said.

The salon owner said she was told not to handle things if others handled them first, like paper. Yet the health inspector handed her sheets of paper and his business card that Deics says could have been sent electronically.

“Why was my business closed for two months if that virus is ‘not that bad,’” Deics said.

“I’m going to be very concerned if we don’t need to be actually wearing all this PPE and I’ve spent my entire CERB check, getting all this PPE in, getting scared I’m not going to be able to open because the supplies can’t be met,” Deics said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Gyms, restaurants set to open in Saskatchewan on June 8

Blk Hrt reopened its doors on May 19, during Phase 2 of the reopen Saskatchewan plan that allows hairdressers and barbers to operate.

“[Anecdotally] we’ve heard few salons are not following protocol, and it’s hard because if the health inspector is saying that, people will say ‘see I told you guys, I didn’t need to do anything,’” Deics said. “I don’t want people like that to be proven right, right now.”
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Deics is using her story to encourage everyone to take COVID-19 seriously and to follow the safety guidelines put in place by the province.

“I’m not going to take it as lighthearted as this health inspector did,” Deics said. “I’m going to trust my gut because this is serious and we need to keep doing what we’re doing to get the results we have, which is Saskatchewan has a tremendously low number of cases.”

Coronavirus: When hair salons open, these are the changes you can expect
Coronavirus: When hair salons open, these are the changes you can expect

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.