Hairdressers desperately want to return to work amid COVID-19 pandemic

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“Since animal grooming is an essential service, today we are groomers, because apparently we are government pets. We offer pet grooming for humans, ”the barber wrote in a social media post on Wednesday. “We also have dog and cat food available for purchase.”

Others in the industry are considering their options.

Adam Spence, owner of True You Salon & Spa in southeast Calgary, told Postmedia he plans to reopen this week but doesn’t want to risk fines and put employees in a tough spot. However, he said “next week could be a different story” as the bills mount.

A passer-by looks out the window of the True You Salon & Spa in Midnapore on Monday, January 11, 2021. Photo par Gavin Young / Postmedia

Jeff Alford, who sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Allied Beauty Association, said examples like these speak to people’s desperation.

“These people, many of them, their whole lives are on the line,” he said, adding that women and single mothers, who make up a large part of the industry, are the most affected.

There are approximately 35,000 active salons in Canada and 200,000 people working in the beauty industry, Alford explained.

During the first wave of COVID-19 across the country, the Allied Beauty Association estimated that between 2,000 and 6,000 salons would be unable to survive. This estimate, following a second wave of infections, has risen to 10,000 which will have to close their doors indefinitely.

“It has turned into, fundamentally, an absolute disaster for the beauty industry,” Alford said.

Tom McMillan, spokesperson for Alberta Health, did not provide details on the number of cases related to hair studios in the province, but said the government had “seen a spread in all sectors, including including this one, ”which led to the partial lockdown of Alberta.

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