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Edmonton beauty salon owners struggle with lockdown restrictions amid busy wedding, grad season

FILE - In this April 24, 2020, file photo, manicurist Rhonda Simpson, left, polishes nails for her customer Faith at the reopened Salon A la Mode in Dallas. AP Photo/LM Otero

Some beauty industry workers, such as spray tan and nail technicians, in the Edmonton area are struggling due to the COVID-19 restrictions that Premier Jason Kenney announced on May 4.

The government of Alberta ordered all personal wellness businesses in high-risk areas to close effective May 9 for a minimum of three weeks.

Personal services include esthetics such as manicures, pedicures, waxing and tanning. This also includes businesses that offer cosmetic facial treatments, salons and tattoo services.

The province states that “high-risk areas” are regions with at least 50 cases per 100,000 people, and at least 30 active cases.

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For business owners such as Lauren Bidlock, owner of Glitz Spray Tanning in Sherwood Park, a third shutdown during the pandemic has left hopeful brides and soon-to-be high school graduates without her beauty services for their milestone events.

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Bidlock opened Glitz Spray Tanning in August of 2011, and since then has accumulated over 100 regular customers over the years.

“There were so many more weddings this time that had to cancel,” Bidlock says.

The business’ busiest season is from May to July, when she airbrush tans up to 300 clients a month.

Some brides that have booked postponed their weddings and are planning on using their spray tans for a later date. As for the high school graduates, there has been a significant drop in appointments, and only “some are getting (spray tans) for pictures” Bidlock says.

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To sustain the business during these unprecedented times, Glitz remains active on their social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to connect with their followers and encourage individuals to book for future events.

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Bidlock suggests that communication is crucial, and when it comes to clients, she “build(s) relationships with them, so that they are excited to come back for when (they) reopen.”

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Other businesses such as nail salons have also taken a financial hit with the new restrictions in place. Vina Tran, owner of Sparkly Nails in Leduc, had the grand opening for her salon on April 12.

In eight weeks of paying rent, she was only able to keep her business open for three weeks.

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Being a business owner throughout COVID-19, Tran says “this time we kind of prepared for the pandemic.” She put extra savings aside to pay rent for future lockdowns.

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The small business owner says she is used to lockdown procedures, but with a brand new business opening, she says “there isn’t really much help for the new businesses.”

According to the government of Alberta, new businesses that commenced operations between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, must demonstrate a month-over-month revenue reduction of 30 per cent to receive a relaunch grant.

This leaves new businesses that opened in April 2021 without any funding to help sustain income.

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Tran hopes the Alberta government can provide financial support “for people that are willing to take the risk like (herself), not only the existing businesses.”

Tran tells small business owners to “stay positive and keep your place as clean as possible.”

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Read more: ‘It’s so frustrating’ — Small businesses struggling to get money from Ontario support grant

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