Manes, massages and malls: Sask. businesses prepare for Phase 2 of reopening

Saskatchewan is about to enter Phase 2 of its reopening plan. You'll be able to get your hair cut, get a massage and even go to the mall. But things might look a little different.

It's been a long month for some entrepreneurs making updates to increase safety as they get set to open doors

Tangles Hair and Beauty Salon in downtown Regina is opening up on Tuesday, and all stylists are booked up for a least a month. Numerous new safety measures have been implemented by salons and other businesses permitted to reopen under Phase 2 of the province's plan. (Declan Finn/CBC)

Many people are eager to see their hairstylist after a two-month hiatus from hair clippers and colours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hairdressers in Saskatchewan are permitted to resume business Tuesday, as part of Phase 2 of the provincial government's multi-phase plan to reopen businesses and services shut down during the pandemic.

If you do make an appointment, you can expect things to be different than before the pandemic. 

At Tangles Hair and Beauty Salon in downtown Regina, there will be fewer stylists on shift to allow for physical distancing. Some are waiting until Phase 3, when they can resume esthetics work.

The salon has gotten rid of double bookings, and personal protective equipment will be mandatory at all times for employees and clients. Stylists will wear surgical masks, face shields and aprons. 

Clients will have to wait in their cars until they are called and sanitize their hands when they enter the salon.

This is one of the posters hanging up in Tangles and many other salons across the province. (Tangles Hair and Beauty Salon/Facebook)

Owner Destinee Peter said the measures have not kept people from booking well into June.

"Our [stylists] are booked solid right now," said Peter. "I've opened up my schedule for more hours just to fit more people in."

Missing massages? 

Massage therapists and acupuncturists will also be able to open their doors on Tuesday.

Shalla Riemer, owner of Regina's Healthy Roots Massage Therapy and Wellness Centre, said she'll be able to work with some patients who have relied on online correspondence with her since she was forced to close in mid-March.

Since registered massage therapists like Riemer work with their hands, they don't have to wear gloves, but the government guidelines say they must wear goggles, surgical masks and aprons that can either be tossed out or fully sanitized.

Riemer said her employees will be seeing fewer patients to make time for thorough cleaning after each one.

She said she has spent the last month preparing to reopen in compliance with the provincial government and the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan.

That includes a new consent form with a COVID-19 health check. The soap and paper towel dispensers at Healthy Roots are now touchless, and cleanings will be logged after the bathroom is used.

The business also has signage on physical distancing, hand-washing and staying home if you are sick. 

Shalla Riemer, a registered massage therapist and owner of Healthy Roots Massage Therapy and Wellness Centre, says she's been helping patients by email and videos but she's happy to be able to relieve their back pain in person again starting Tuesday. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

"It's been a lot of work … but we are confident with how we've changed the clinic and things that we've had to implement in regards to our safety and the patient safety," said Riemer. "We're excited to get back."

Riemer said she hopes that people comply with all the government regulations so that people who go back to work are safe. 

"We don't want any breakouts or any risk, and we're doing all we can to be prepared," she said. "We need everybody to be on board."

Retail changes

Along with personal services like haircuts and massages, shopping malls and retail stores that previously had to close are also allowed to reopen in Phase 2.

Customers can return purchased items, try on clothes and use store washrooms. 

The list includes clothing stores, sporting good stores, vaping supply shops, bookstores, jewelry stores, boat and ATV dealerships, accessory stores, music stores, electronic stores, pawn shops and travel agencies. 

A man in blue jeans and a hoodie and wearing a mask walks away from the Cornwall Centre in Regina, Sask.
Malls like the Cornwall Centre in Regina will be allowed to reopen as part of Phase 2. You can even try on clothes. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Thrift stores are able to reopen, under strict cleaning guidelines. Second-hand items are to be laundered on the hottest setting possible. If that's not an option, donated items need to sit in a separate bin for at least 72 hours before being placed on a sales rack.

Some stores say allowing in-person sales won't change much for them, though. 

Since March, Western Cycle has been offering curbside pickup, online sales and one-on-one customer service sessions via FaceTime. 

In Phase 2, customers can purchase sporting goods in person. But actual athletic events involving groups remain on hold until Phase 4 comes into effect, at a date yet to be determined.

Brian Stennes, the general manager of Western Cycle, said that means equipment sales are down more than 90 per cent.

His shop is staying afloat through bike sales and repairs, which make up about 35 per cent of its typical business. And the supply chain for bike parts is fractured, due to outbreaks of the virus in other parts of the world. 

The situation has created uncertainty. 

"On the hockey side, we haven't been delivered much of our inventory yet, but we're having to make some tough decisions whether we cancel orders or keep them coming just in case there is a season," said Stennes.

"It's rather worrisome.… Getting more into the fall and winter, that's where the problems are going to occur."

The general manager of Western Cycle says the store is staying afloat from bike sales and repairs. With sports leagues on pause, he says sales of equipment are down over 90 per cent. (CBC)

In the store, Plexiglas shields have been installed around the cash registers and the number of customers allowed in at a time will be limited. 

Stennes said he hopes business picks up a bit, but he isn't expecting much. 

He'd like to see the hockey season go ahead, but only if it's safe to do so. 

"You've got to balance the risks of doing that against the economic benefits," he said. "My hope is that this [pandemic] will be contained and we'll be able to get back to normal with our sporting activities."

Other rules

Drive-in or remote worship services will be allowed as long as people stay in their vehicles and physically distance. Food or beverage services are off limits.

Greenhouses are also allowed to open, with one-way aisles. The businesses must also offer online or telephone orders as an alternative to in-person shopping.

Farmers markets can operate under a lengthy list of conditions. Vendors must set up with "adequate distance between booths to ensure physical distancing can be maintained." Reusable bags, cups and containers are prohibited as well.

Passengers in boats now do not have to be from the same household, but "need to maintain as much separation as possible." 

Outside of businesses, gatherings will still be limited to ten people maximum. Shoppers must physically distance at all times where possible. And those who are sick must stay home and monitor their symptoms.


Alex Soloducha is a reporter, social media producer and digital producer for CBC Saskatchewan. She was part of a team that won a Canadian RTDNA award for a digital COVID-19 Kids Q&A. She can be reached at and follow on TikTok @cbcsasknews.