Some P.E.I. hair salons, barber shops doubling down on safety amid Omicron

·2 min read
'The nature of barbering and hairstyling, anyways, is loaded with sanitation and cleanliness — we've been taking it a step further,' says Sean Aylward. (Shutterstock - image credit)
'The nature of barbering and hairstyling, anyways, is loaded with sanitation and cleanliness — we've been taking it a step further,' says Sean Aylward. (Shutterstock - image credit)

Whether it be leniency in cancellations or shifting staff around to make things work, some hair salons and barbershops on P.E.I. are adapting to rising cases of COVID-19.

Sean Aylward, owner of the Humble Barber in Summerside and Charlottetown, says there have been cancellations in the last few weeks because people are anxious or are self-isolating.

"It's really a mixed bag. We're definitely starting to get a lot of cancellations, really over the last couple weeks as the cases have gone up," he told Island Morning.

"Whether it's from people who are concerned for their own personal safety.… We've had cancellations from people who have COVID or people who have to self-isolate."

We haven't been working any facial services, like no beards or mustaches, trims. — Tina MacAulay

During times like this, businesses have to be understanding when it comes to cancellations, he said. If people don't feel comfortable going in, than you have to respect that.

"We're understanding, we get it for sure. We're not giving people a hard time," he said.

For those who are healthy but want to get a cut, the Humble Barber is going to offer one day a week when there are fewer staff and clients in the building. The idea is that on Mondays there will be one or two barbers, no front desk staff or waiting room, and "it will just be a one-on-one thing.

"The nature of barbering and hair styling, anyways, is loaded with sanitation and cleanliness — we've been taking it a step further," he said.

"We just want to give people a chance to get a cut without being in a crowd."

'Diligent on sanitizing'

Other salons, like Tina's Cut Above in Montague are doing similar things, like extra sanitizing and taking many precautions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 entering the business.

"We are very diligent on sanitizing," said owner Tina MacAulay. "We haven't been working any facial services, like no beards or mustaches, trims."

MacAulay said this recent surge in cases on P.E.I. has been "nerve-racking" as she worries even more about client and staff safety and trying to do the best she can to make everything work.

Clients have to wait in their cars before coming in for appointments. When they eventually walk in they have to sign in and sanitize.

Dividers and distancing measures are in place, of course, and, much like the Humble Barber, keeping the shop clean is always a top priority.

"My clientele trust me and same with the other girls, so they feel pretty comfortable and pretty safe. They feel like we're not going to put them at risk," she said.

"I think you see them relax once they get underway with their service … I think a lot of the time it's a really positive experience for the client."

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