By Kallandra Weatherbee
As of Jan. 18 the Alberta government will be easing public health rules around funerals, outdoor gatherings and personal services.
For the first time in a month personal services such as hair salons and tattoo parlors will be able to re-open by appointment only.
Donia Tarrabain, master stylist at Top Knot in St. Albert believes that shutting down hair salons back in December caused an immeasurable strain on personal lives, client relationships and business.
“We’re not essential but people think we should be. My clients think we should be. They think we’re just as important as anyone else,” said Tarrabain.
Now that personal services are open Tarrabain says they’ve been busier than ever.
“My first shift back I worked 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. My next couple weeks are nuts. I’m working twelve hour days. As soon as the announcement happened on the news, that’s when we started booking,” said Tarrabain.
To make the re-opening safe Tarrabain believes all salons are following Alberta Health and Safety standards and are cleaning constantly to make sure no COVID-19 cases happen.
“Everything is very controlled. We text our clients to come in so there’s only one person at a time, we got rid of our waiting room. I sanitize my chair and the arms and tools, everything that a client touched. I’m sanitizing like crazy and we’re doing everything by the book,” said Tarrabain.
Many hair dressers including Tarrabain don’t believe the December restrictions were fair or necessary as Jason Kenny, Alberta premier said there has been no known reports of COVID-19 at hair salons.
“We don’t know of a single, known case of transmission in a hair salon. And so, just let me say thank you to those operators, those workers, for being so, so incredibly careful,” said Kenny at his press conference on Nov. 24.
Tarrabain said she understands why Jason Kenny closed personal services back in March 2019 but doesn’t understand the December restrictions especially after his announcement.
“The first lock down I understood it was out of control. But this last one I felt like I went home and it wasn’t necessary. Like the number went down but we have control in our environment at the salon. It just wasn’t fair Kenny even said we weren’t the problem,” said Tarrabain
With malls and retail still allowed to be open, Tarrabain said it isn’t fair for people like her that need to be open to make money.
“What hurt is that Kenny allowed stores and malls to stay open and you can go to malls to hang out but you can’t get your haircut. I’m happy to be back at work but I’m working long hours for the same amount of pay,” said Tarrabain.
Dine-in services at restaurants and bars have remained closed.