Montreal, Joliette residents can soon get their hair cut, at long last

Hairdressers, barbers and nail salons in the Montreal and Joliette areas — the two regions worst hit by COVID-19 outbreaks — will be able to open on June 15, the Legault government has announced.

Barbers, nail salons, tattoo parlours and other personal services also get the green light as of June 15

Josée Bouchard opened La Barbière in Joliette, Que., less than a year ago. She's ready and eager to reopen on June 15. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

Josée Bouchard's barber shop in Joliette, in the Lanaudière region, hadn't even been open a year when the pandemic struck, but closing La Barbière's doors in March wasn't just hard on her. It was also hard on her customers.

"It was totally painful," she said. "Pretty much every day I had calls — requests to do jobs on the side or [asking] when I was going to open."

Bouchard was jumping for joy Friday when the Quebec government announced it will allow businesses offering personal-care services to reopen on June 15 in the Montreal and Joliette areas — the two places in Quebec hardest-hit by COVID-19 outbreaks.

The list of services allowed includes skin care, hair removal, barbers and hairdressers, tattoo parlours and nail salons.

Quebec Premier François Legault, who was in Joliette Friday, said his wife has been cutting his hair over the last couple months, but he knows others are not so lucky to have somebody at home who can do that. 

These types of businesses can reopen safely, despite the fact that both the client and the service provider must be in close proximity for extended periods of time, he said.

"Both of them have to have a mask and wash their hands after," said Legault.

Quebec's workplace health and safety board, CNESST, has provided virtual guides on how to reopen these businesses safely in the midst of a pandemic.

There will also be a health standards check list available, produced in collaboration with public health and the various associations representing the businesses.

Barber shops and other personal care businesses have reopened in other parts of the country. By mid-June, the same will be true in the Montreal area. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

"The reopening of personal care and esthetic businesses in the Montreal region was eagerly awaited," Labour Minister Jean Boulet said in a news release.

"Our objective is to support business owners in the implementation of appropriate health standards and to ensure that activities can resume under the right conditions as safe as possible for everyone."

June 1 opening date in rest of Quebec

Retail businesses with outdoor access reopened in the Montreal area on Monday, three weeks after they reopened elsewhere in the province. 

The government has been slower to reopen businesses in the Montreal and Joliette areas because the COVID-19 outbreak has been significantly worse there than in other parts of the province

Personal-care services will be allowed to resume June 1 outside of the greater Montreal and Joliette areas, the government announced last week.

Private health-care services, such as dentists and physiotherapists, will be allowed to reopen across the province on the same day.

With files from Simon Nakonechny

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