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Tattoo shops, aestheticians in Lethbridge optimistic about opening in Phase 2 of relaunch

Lethbridge businesses prepare to reopen as part of Phase 2 in Alberta’s relaunch strategy
WATCH: As Alberta continues to flatten the curve, more Lethbridge businesses are looking forward to getting back to some sense of normal during Phase 2 of the province's relaunch. Taz Dhaliwal reports.

The province of Alberta is more than two weeks into Phase 1 of the government’s economic relaunch strategy, which saw businesses such as restaurants, hair salons and clothing stores throughout most of Alberta re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 1 began on May 14 for all parts of the province, except for Calgary and Brooks — whose restrictions were lifted on May 25 due to the higher health risks in those cities.

As for Phase 2, no exact date has been set for its initiation, but Premier Jason Kenney confirmed earlier this month it could be as early as June 19.

It will include the reopening of more personal services, like artificial tanning, aesthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments and reflexology.

READ MORE: Edmonton malls quiet, barbershops lined up on Day 1 of Alberta’s phased relaunch

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“I’m so excited to actually have a physical person in front of me to do makeup on, and actually have that interaction,” Lethbridge makeup artist Katt Panic said.

“Having that social interaction is what I live for.”

Panic says she will have all the required sanitation procedures in place for all the equipment she uses, along with masks for both herself and her customers.

She plans on working by appointments only, and will be asking her customers to avoid bringing guests with them unless they are a minor or need assistance.

Panic does not have any staff employed, and since she is the only artist that works in her salon, she’s not worried about breaching any physical distancing measures.

Some Calgary shops choose to not fully open their doors despite COVID-19 restrictions being lifted
Some Calgary shops choose to not fully open their doors despite COVID-19 restrictions being lifted

One of Panic’s main clientele groups is wedding parties, many of which were postponed to 2021 due to gathering restrictions. However, she says she has had an influx of requests for elopements as clients decide to tie the knot in private later this summer.

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“After June 19, I’m all booked up for weddings again,” Panic said.

READ MORE: No new COVID-19 deaths in Alberta but Edmonton sees 10 cases linked to gatherings

While hair salons were given the green light to offer services again on May 14, many have spa portions which are not yet open.

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Heather Tytula, owner of Brio Salon Spa in Lethbridge, says its non-hair services such as facials, waxing, and microblading are often more intimate than hair cutting, so they will have to be extra cautious once those services are provided again.

“It’s been kind of fun trying it out in the salon,” Tytula said.

“We did have a bit of a soft open, just to make sure our protocols are good, and in a sense we’re almost over prepared.”

Tytula said Brio has already had clients call in to book appointments for spa services, and it is currently getting through its waiting list for salon services.

Cosmetic tattoo artist on watching and waiting
Cosmetic tattoo artist on watching and waiting

For Lethbridge residents eager to add to their tattoo collection or get inked for the first time, they may be able to do so in about three weeks’ time.

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“There are quite a few people that are willing and ready,” said Kristine Ragan, manager at Jaded Body Arts in Lethbridge.

“There are actually people that have already been in contact with the artists and some people actually have deposits down already.”

All of Jaded’s staff have been formally trained on how to prevent the spread of pathogens, and will be wearing personal protective equipment, and providing it to clients.

Phase 2 will continue to enforce two-metre social distancing and other public health guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.