News: Haircuts could be more expensive when salons reopen because of added costs

The manager of a Vancouver barber shop warns that once many B.C. salons are back open, they may have to implement a price increase for their services.

The so called “COVID-19 fee” might become necessary for personal services like hair salons to operate safely during the pandemic.

“We are working on a huge plan on how we’re going to make sure everybody is safe,” said Jackie West, of Regal Grooming Lounge.

Most B.C. barber shops closed down mid-March in accordance with provincial health orders aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all personal services businesses to close on March 21.

On Wednesday, the province unveiled phase one of its reopening plan, which instructed barber shops and salons that they could start operating again in the middle of this month.

Now, hair salons need to develop their own reopening strategies to meet industry guidelines that will be approved by WorkSafeBC.

“There’s a lot of confusion, because people are immediately thinking they can come get a haircut,” said West. “The reality is, all of these businesses are going to have to secure personal protective equipment for their staff.”

West explained there are conversations being had within the industry that barbers will need to wear masks, eye protections, gloves and aprons.

The equipment would also need to be changed after each client.

“The cost of that is going to be super significant,” she said.

Salons will also need to eliminate chairs to leave enough space to physically distance between work stations.

“The cost of 99 per cent alcohol has gone out 200 per cent,” said West, adding that PPE is nearly impossible to get a hold of in large quantities.