Fixing quarantine haircuts, no more waiting rooms: Professional hair care in Ontario's Stage 2
Barbershops and hair salons across the region got the greenlight to reopen last week
Barbershops and hair salons across Windsor-Essex got the greenlight to reopen last week, following the Ontario government's announcement that the region is permitted to enter Stage 2 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For people like Rabia Ibraheem, who owns Rabee Barber Shop on Wyandotte in Windsor, and Maddi Lantin, a stylist at Shear Images Salon in Belle River, reopening means adhering to a strict set of guidelines outlined by the province — including wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), constantly sterilizing equipment, as well as enforcing physical distancing rules indoors.
"We've had to make up a waiver for people to sign, just in case there was any problem," said Lantin, who returned to work on Tuesday, June 30. "We have to go grab our clients from their cars, there's no more waiting room."
Lantin said customers are also asked a series of questions before they come in for their appointment, adding that masks are provided in the event that clients don't have their own.
"Everyone has to wear a mask at all times," she said.
Despite being allowed to reopen his business, Ibraheem said business isn't booming again just yet.
"Some people wanted to be in the chair on the first day and others want to wait until they feel safe," he said.
He is scheduling appointments 15 minutes apart, rather than back-to-back, to ensure health and safety and to properly sanitize equipment.
Everyone has to wear masks at all times.- Maddi Lantin, Stylist, Shear Images Salon
"The physical distance requirements, enhanced cleaning means that salons and barbershops are seeing fewer clients in a day," he said.
As for what's popular among clients — some of whom haven't had a professional hair cut in months — Lantin said she's seeing a lot of customers looking to fix quarantine haircuts.
She added that it will likely take "a couple of months at least" to get caught up on the backlog of clients.
"We're only allowed to see one client at a time," she said. "The health board is recommending that we can't blow dry, so it does help out timing-wise ... we can get people in fast and get everyone caught up on the list."
According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's website, "blow dryers do have the potential to spread contaminated air and droplets around a room, if there is an infected person onsite, particularly if no mask/face covering is worn by the client (as a form of source control)."
The health unit also points out there is "limited concrete data" that hair dryers present a risk of COVID-19 spread.
Still, both Lantin and Ibraheem said they're happy to be back at work and glad to see their old clients.
And while PPE like masks and face shields might make it a little bit more difficult to communicate, Lantin says stylists and other people who work at her shop are still finding ways to have "gabby talks with all of our clients."
Ibraheem agrees but adds it's more difficult to share jokes because "you can't see people smile through their masks. "
With files from Windsor Morning