An open letter has been penned by the Australian Hairdressing Council to the State Premiers and members of the National Cabinet. The letter voices heartfelt and genuine concern for the safety of those workers in the hairdressing industry who feel at risk working in such close proximity to their clients. Half of Australia’s 15,000 salons have voluntarily closed, salons that employ 40,000 hairdressers and barbers. Because no salons have specific training in infection control, it is up to individual businesses to read and implement safety measures put into place by the government. Forbes hairdressers have mirrored the sense of confusion in the lack of clarity around rules, experienced by themselves and their clients.
Safety measures like ensuring adequate distance between clients and maintaining a strict limit to the amount of people allowed in the shop at a time reduces the risk of infection spreading however, with the work itself requiring close proximity between hairdressers and their clients, the Australian Hairdressing Council states that they are “a risk to and at risk from our clients.”
The letter further poses the question as to whether the government is prepared to be accountable for death and illness should their “lack of leadership” and lack of clear guidance prove to be inadequate.
For Forbes hairdresser Bronwyn of Metro Hair, the confusion is the result of the changing rules and regulations regarding the hairdressing industry. While Bronwyn has implemented strict guidelines and rules around social distancing in the salon, as well as undertaking a vigorous disinfection routine between clients and says: “I can only do my best, I don’t know what to think, It’s impossible to completely obey social distancing when you are cutting hair.”
Eliza from Hair With Style also confirmed that the salon has implemented a strict dis- infection and social distancing routine, as well as not accepting any clients from out of town.
“As hairdressers, we only know what the government tells us, so we are just taking it day by day, apart from new regulations, it is business as usual,” said Eliza, who also stated that much confusion around the hairdressing industry came about when the government closed the beauty industry, leaving clients and hairdressers confused.
Forbes is yet to have any COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, 15th April. While hairdressers in Forbes understand the Australian Hairdressing Council’s concern for the health and safety of hairdressers in cities and urban areas with high rates of COVID-19, and understands their calls for the government to shut the industry down, Forbes still maintains a sense of security. For the most part, residents and businesses are doing the best that they can with the information they have. Until further notice, Forbes hair salons are still open for business.