New Brunswick

Confusion, stress as salons adjust to vaccination rules — then have to backtrack

Personal care services such as hair salons and spas no longer require proof of vaccination, a departure from the guidelines given by the Cosmetology Association of New Brunswick early Monday.

Proof of vaccination not required of clients at New Brunswick hair salons

A stylist tends to a customer's hair at Vibrant Salon & Spa in Fredericton, which has changed its vaccination requirements twice already this week. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

Kristen Clark received sudden news on Monday morning that her hair salon business would need proof of vaccination for patrons. 

The owner of Vibrant Salon & Spa in Fredericton was notified of the change at 9 a.m. by the Cosmetology Association of New Brunswick. 

"It was very stressful and unfortunately, we weren't given much notice to put that in place," Clark said in an interview. 

"We took the time to educate our front desk team, to call our guests and to ask those questions if they did have a vaccine passport, and it was just very rushed and very stressful."

But later the same day, at 4 p.m., the association reversed its instructions, which meant Clark and her staff had to call back clients to notify them that vaccination proof was no longer required. 

Kristen Clark is the owner of Vibrant Salon & Spa in Fredericton wishes there been better co-ordination in presenting guidelines for salons under the province's current state of emergency. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

The Cosmetology Association of New Brunswick was unable to provide CBC News with an interview on the backtracking. Its website suggests the guidelines were based on the group's understanding of regulations that went into effect after the  province declared a public health emergency last Friday.

"There are no other restrictions in the Mandatory Order with respect to salons or cosmetologists in general," the association now says on the website. "However, the Department of Public Health will be reviewing the document and will notify the CANB if the change is required." 

In an email, Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, confirmed there are currently no rules related to salon patrons showing proof of vaccination to receive service. It's up to individual businesses.

"Salons requesting proof of vaccination for patrons and/or employees remains a business decision for them to make."

Maureen Stewart, the owner of the Spa 654 Club, said she, too, had to pivot her business with the sudden change in restrictions.

"We just found this out last night at the 11th hour, and we closed at five. So really and truly, the clients that we called yesterday that probably weren't vaccinated, we'll have to reschedule them." 

Clark wishes there had been better co-ordination on the matter.

"I believe maybe a little bit more notice would have made things go a lot more smooth and also having the government also have everything in place, not just our association."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mrinali has worked in newsrooms in Toronto, Windsor and Fredericton. She has written and produced stories for CBC's The National, CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup, CBC News Network and CBC Entertainment News. Have a tip? Mrinali.anchan@cbc.ca

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