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Alberta barbershop ticketed after reopening despite COVID-19 restrictions

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A barbershop in Innisfail, Alta. is opening its doors in order to pay the bills. As Jenna Freeman reports, the decision that goes against public health rules has the central Alberta town divided. – Jan 12, 2021

The owners of an Alberta barbershop that opened in defiance of provincial public health orders this week have been ticketed after two days of taking customers.

More than 30 people had their hair cut at Bladez to Fadez on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the shop started taking bookings despite a province-wide shutdown of such businesses.

Read more: COVID-19: Alberta barbershop ‘rebrands’ as ‘essential service’ pet groomer to stay open

After being issued a closure notice Tuesday, the shop was determined to reopen Wednesday morning, and “rebranded” as a pet groomer offering “pet grooming for humans” and added pet food to their retail selection, which owner Natalie Klein said deemed the business an essential service.

On Thursday, Klein said the shop was still open for retail — selling hair products and pet food — but wouldn’t comment on whether they were still taking appointments for hair cuts.

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Klein also wouldn’t comment on whether she planned to take bookings for hair cuts in the future.

RCMP officers issued two tickets to the business on Wednesday, which came with a summons to appear in court but no fine.

Read more: COVID-19: Alberta barbershop vows to stay open despite AHS ordering its closure

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Laurel Scott said Thursday the tickets were issued for violating the Public Health Act, and that their involvement in the case is “at the direction of Alberta Health Services.”

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Scott could not say whether officers had visited the shop on Thursday.

AHS said Thursday that inspectors visited Bladez 2 Fadez Wednesday and saw haircuts being done for a second day in a row, despite the closure notice, and engaged their enforcement partner, the RCMP.

“Additional charges under the Public Health Act are being considered pursuant to section 73: ‘a person who contravenes the act is liable to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $5,000 for each day or part of day during which the contravention occurs or continues,'” AHS said.

“The amount of the fine is determined by a judge after a successful prosecution.

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“AHS is also considering additional legal consequences.”

Health restrictions eased

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced Thursday afternoon that as of Monday, some health restrictions will be eased, including for personal wellness services.

That means salons and barbershops like Klein’s will be allowed to operate on an appointment-based system, provided customers and those offering services are wearing masks and following enhanced cleaning practices.

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‘The situation remains serious’: Alberta’s top doctor urges caution amid easing of some COVID-19 restrictions – Jan 14, 2021

Klein said the new development was “great,” and said it should have happened sooner.

“I’m extremely excited about it, I think that it’s a big win for our industry and I couldn’t be happier,” she said.

“I think that we made a change and people stood up for what we believed in and the government heard us loud and clear.

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“Monday we’ll be operating legally.”

Klein said she believes the change in the government’s guidance on personal wellness services will help her case when she contests her tickets in court.