Hairdresser visits were due to be restricted to 30 minutes from today. (ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)
Major hairdressing chains have dubbed the National Cabinet’s decision to immediately lift 30-minute restrictions on appointments as “just bonkers” as they warn hairdressers, barbers and clients are at risk from coronavirus.
- Hairdressers and barbers complained about the practicality of cutting hair within 30 minutes
- Salons and barbershops announced closures in response to the time restrictions
- New funeral exemptions might allow for an extra two family members to attend
From today, haircuts were meant to be limited to less than 30 minutes as part of further social restrictions agreed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, but that rule was removed not long after coming into force.
Salons and barbers must still adhere to the physical-distancing restrictions of one person per 4 square metres.
“It is physically impossible for stylists to do a shampoo or haircut without touching the client,” Just Cuts chief executive Denis McFadden said.
Hairdressers had also complained to governments about the practicality of capping haircuts at 30 minutes and the constantly changing rules.
“This decision is bonkers,” Mr McFadden said.
He said the only option was to completely shut down the industry.
“Without hairdressing being on the shutdown list, it is incredibly difficult for our franchise owners to take the heartbreaking but necessary steps to stand down workers so they can access available support or call for breathing space on leases,” he said.
Susie Dimov says her salon will remain closed until it’s safe to reopen. (ABC News: Adam Kennedy)
Susie Dimov, the managing director of Kundalini, said her Canberra salon would remain closed “until it was safe for us to reopen”.
“I am appalled at the continued changes to laws surrounded hairdressing,” she said.
“Everyday we have struggled to comply with the new measures given to us. It has been mentally and physically exhausting to keep up with and comply with these laws.
“Our clients and the wider public is confused as to why we are being told to stay open.”
Hairdressing chain Toni & Guy will not be reopening, despite the change to the 30-minute rule.
Chief executive Dennis Langford said his team had talked at length this morning, but decided there was no safe way they could operate.
“We need to bend the coronavirus curve, and when you look at some of the [broader] government guidelines, we just can’t keep to them,” he said.
“We sanitise everything, we can keep a 1.5-metre gap between clients, but we obviously can’t do that between a hairdresser and client.
“We also use hairdryers and that’s circulating the air around the salons far more than in other industries.”
States to determine funeral limits
Tuesday night’s National Cabinet decision to limit haircuts also included a cap of 10 people at funerals.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday morning that states would have the discretion to allow extra people to attend funerals on a case-by-case basis.
He said the changes, which premiers and chief ministers agreed to during a National Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night, were based on feedback from both industries.
“The 4-square-metre rule per person must be strictly observed within the premises and that personal contact during the patron’s visit should be minimised wherever possible,” he said in a statement.
“Also it was noted that in hardship cases, states and territories can provide exemptions in relation to attendance at funerals, but only at the margin.”
The ABC has been told that means one or two additional family members might be able to attend a funeral under special circumstances.
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Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the 30-minute rule had to be scrapped because it was impractical.
“It was very apparent that it was an impractical limitation,” he said.
“I know my wife has never been to the hairdresser for less than 30 minutes and neither have I to be frank.”
The change of policy comes as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) cited mixed messages for why some people had failed to adhere to physical-distancing requirements.
Governments have urged people to stay home unless they need to leave for work or for essential trips to shops.
When out, they want people to remain 1.5 metres apart.
The AMA wants more shutdowns put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because of the lack of consistent messaging, because people had been flouting the earlier advice regarding social-distancing measures, we need to move further and quickly to ensure that what we’re seeing around the world doesn’t mimic and occur on front doors,” AMA president Tony Bartone said.
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