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'It's Impossible': Hairdressers Choose To Stay Closed Despite Backflip On 30-Minute Rule

This morning, Scott Morrison announced he was lifting the 30-minute appointment rule he imposed on hairdressers and barbers on Tuesday night in response to the spread of coronavirus.
This morning, Scott Morrison announced he was lifting the 30-minute appointment rule he imposed on hairdressers and barbers on Tuesday night in response to the spread of coronavirus.

"Following feedback on the practical implementation of measures announced regarding barbers and hairdressers it was agreed by Premiers and Chief Ministers at National Cabinet last night that the instruction regarding 30 minutes per patron will be lifted (effective immediately)," the statement read.

However, despite lifting the half an hour time limit on appointments, the rules around social distancing and maintaining four square metres as well as minimising personal contact, must still be practiced in salons.

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Many salons chose to close their doors as of midnight last night, stating that the 30 minute appointment time made it impossible for them to adequately service their customers.

Yet despite this being reversed, many are still choosing to remain closed in order to protect their health and the potential exposure to coronavirus through contact in their workplace.

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READ MORE 'Outrageous': Hairdressers Beg To Be Shutdown Under New 30-Minute Rule

On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a number of new closures to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to 10 daily, Wollongong-based hairdresser Hannah Balmforth said she'd already made the decision to close her salon prior to the restrictions being announced by the government.

"I had decided on this personally due to the health advice we have been receiving and the increase of the COVID-19 infections growing daily. So we were always putting our health and safety first," the 27-year-old said.

"As most people are aware, it is near impossible to perform 90 percent of hair services in a salon under 30 minutes. The government and its advisers should have performed some due diligence before making a decision like this."

Hannah has owned and run her own salon in Wollongong for six years. Image: Supplied

Balmforth said while she would be able to rearrange her salon to allow for social distancing between clients, her work as a stylist would still leave her and her staff open to potential exposure.

"As the hairstylist there is no way to impose 1.5 meters between the client and myself. It's impossible to provide any service from 1.5 meters away," she told 10 daily.

The CEO of the Australian Hairdressing Council, Sandy Chong, yesterday attacked the government for leaving hair salons and barbers open, stating they put 40,000 workers at risk with their decision.

“This decision is outrageous. Hairdressers and barbers continue to be at risk of as they are directly exposed to large members of the public. Why beauty was shut down but hairdressing wasn’t, I don’t understand," Chong said.

“The Fair Work Act, as it stands, makes it costly for businesses if they choose to stand down without the Government’s directive.”

Sandy Chong, CEO of the Australian Hairdressing Council.

Chong as a result called for hairdressers to be closed, along with a number of other services that were forced to shut including beauty therapists, tattoo parlours, massage parlours and waxing services.

"The Government must close hairdressing and barbering down for the safety of our workers and the community," Chong said.

Balmforth, who has been in the profession for 12 years, said she also believes all hairdressers should be ordered to close.

"We are physically touching people, their clothing, their hair and working in very close proximity. A lot of beauticians share salons with hairdressers exactly like my own, so I don't understand how you can separate the two," she pointed out.

Heath and safety of myself, staff and clientele has always been my top priority. Yes, financially its not ideal, but this is a global crisis where people have lost lives. Without your health you have nothing.

Balmforth isn't alone in her decision, with a number of Sydney-based hairdressers also deciding to keep their doors shut to the public.

Salon owner Natalie Anne informed her clients they would not be reopening, stating: "At this stage, the Natalie Anne salon will remain closed until further notice, despite the lift on the 30-minute restriction. The health, safety and well-being of our patrons and our staff are paramount at this time."

"We assure you, this was an extremely difficult decision to come to, but we need to do what's best for not only us, but for our greater community. Please stay home and take care of yourselves," she urged her patrons.

Owner of elle & marcs, Tina Marks, further made the choice to remain closed, after shutting her doors yesterday and sending clients home with DIY hair kits to do their own touch ups while self isolating at home.

"I should be happy the 30-minute ban had been lifted, however, hair stylists should not risk their well-being for money. We work way too close to people and it will be impossible to stay safe," Marks said.

"If the Prime Minister won't close the country, we should protect ourselves and our families and stay home. Listen to the health experts and the doctors on the front line. They're risking their lives to save ours."

Balmforth said she is fortunate to be in a position where she has taken measures in the past to safeguard her business in a time of crisis.

"I am in a comfortable position to close and reopen. One of my main priorities was my staff member Chloe and I was worried about her and how she feels during this time," the mum-of-one said.

"We have advised her we will still be keeping her on and hopefully with access to the cash flow assistance package, that will help cover her wages and my bills."

While Balmforth has made the decision to close for the time being, she acknowledges not all other salons are in the position to be able to make this choice.

"I do wish them all the best and hope we all can come out of this on the other side when it all ends."

Featured image: Supplied

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