Disinfectant and face masks: GTA salon chain makes plans to reopen in new reality

With temperature checks, masks and physical distancing, your post-pandemic hair appointments might feel a little different than they used to.

Civello plans to use disposable towels, temperature checks and face shields for stylists

The interior of a Civello salon on Yonge Street, a few blocks north of Eglinton Avenue in Toronto. (Arash Moallemi)

With Ontario's state of emergency now extended until June 2, hair salons and barbers in the province won't be able to open for at least several more weeks. 

But when they are given the green light — one salon chain has its plan ready. 

Civello, which has four locations in the GTA and two in Vancouver, posted a detailed list of the steps they'll take to keep staff and clients safe when they open their doors again. 

"A lot of things have changed," said Ray Civello, president and CEO of Civello salons, in an interview with CBC Radio's Here and Now on Monday. 

"We really have to start with safety first." 

Gone are the drinks from the coffee bar or the chance to flip through a magazine in a waiting area before your cut. 

He says clients will instead be asked to arrive just a few minutes before their appointment, and will be questioned on their way in about how they're feeling and "possibly even [have their] temperature taken," said Civello. 

The number of people inside the salon will be limited and spaced far apart. Disposable robes, towels and neck strips will also be used. 

"We're using the disinfectants for every tool, for every station, so cleanliness is number one," Civello said. 

Clients will also be asked to wear masks, and staff will wear both masks and face shields. 

The pre-cut shampoo will also be scrapped for everyone besides people having their hair coloured, he said. 

"We're going to be cutting hair dry, asking people to come in with their hair clean." 

Salons reopen in Manitoba

The lack of access to salons and barbers has been an issue for many people sheltering in place during the pandemic, with stylists posting tutorials online as many people make their first attempt at an at-home hair cut. 

Salons around the country are now looking forward to reopening — and some are already there. 

Barbers and hair salons were allowed to reopen in Manitoba on May 4, and provincial recommendations include staggering appointments and requiring customers to use a "self-screening tool" before booking appointments

New Brunswick hasn't given the okay yet, but some salons are installing plexiglass barriers in advance to help them follow distancing regulations when they do. 

Vibrant Salon and Spa in Fredericton, N.B., has installed plexiglass barriers as they wait for the green light to reopen. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Civello says he knows it's asking his staff a lot to deal with all of the new personal protective equipment they'll have to wear — but says his team is "excited" to come back after eight weeks off the job. 

"Nothing feels as good as a great haircut," he said. 

"We need every uplifting moment we can get."