Expect backlog when barbers, salons, clinics reopen

Personal care services, from hair salons to massage therapy clinics, can reopen mid-May

British Columbians will technically be allowed to get their hair cut at barbers and beauty salons starting in mid-May, but they may have to take a number and get in line.

The same goes for physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic treatments.

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The B.C. government unveiled its plans Wednesday for restarting the economy. In mid-May, hair salons, barber shops and other “personal service” businesses will be allowed to reopen, though they will have to have a plan approved by WorkSafeBC for how they plan to adhere to safety measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 virus.

It’s less clear if British Columbians will also be able to get their nails done, hit the gym or get a tattoo.

Greg Robins, executive director for the Beauty Council of Western Canada, which represents barbers, stylists, spas, cosmetologists and body waxers, said he’s a bit surprised that salons and barbers are being allowed to open so soon. They didn’t expect to get the green light until the end of May.

“This is happening incredibly quickly, considering that the industry might have to make significant modifications in a very short time,” Robins said.

The BC plan is ambiguous when it comes to things like nail salons, tattoo parlours and fitness centres. Robins assumes that those sorts of things are captured under “personal services.”

“In our world that means everything else – like nails, skin care, waxing,” he said.

Even when various services, from hair salons to chiropractors reopen, it will be far from normal. There will be all kinds of restrictions in place, and limits on the number of people allowed in a salon, clinic or gym at a time.

“As a clinic owner and practitioner, I am happy we can return soon yet tentative about a slow return and ensuring we have procedures in place to protect our clients and staff members,” said Jason Coolen of Oakridge Physiotherapy Clinics. “A slow return is going to be very challenging for businesses and their cash flow.”

Christine Bradstock, chief executive officer for Physiotherapy Association of BC, said physiotherapists are urging patients to continue to do virtual consultations, if they can. Physiotherapists may need to concentrate on patients with serious injuries, and those recovering from surgery.

“Further details around the processes of this increased contact will be outlined and we want to encourage patients to seek virtual care over the next weeks and beyond where available and appropriate,” she said.

“Physiotherapists also look forward to the elective surgeries announcement … as we play a vital role in the treatment and recovery of many patients who require surgeries such as hip and knee replacements.”

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