Government of British Columbia: Do not single out hairstylists in phase two.*

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 Hairstylists and Barbers are members of the Personal Service Industry, where social distancing is not possible.

 We are calling on the B.C. government not to include hairstylists and barbers in the first phase of economic reopening.
 Our government has made incredible strides in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and must understand that a decision to reopen salons first would put our communities and economy at greater risk than benefit. We hope that businesses who operate in as close proximity to the public as nurses continue to remain closed at this time. 

 Worryingly, in provinces like Alberta, businesses listed in phase one are instructed to enforce social distancing and the personal service industry remains closed, except for hair salons and barber shops. How is this advantageous or necessary at this time?

 Will stylists have continued, unfettered access to personal protective equipment in B.C.? Will access to widespread testing be made more available? Will workers and their families who are compromised be supported? Will people in a non-essential sector have to risk illness, death and heightened community spread because they have no choice but to touch large volumes of clients in enclosed areas? Areas that also recirculate air from air conditioners and blow dryers? It is essential that these questions are answered before hair professionals return to work.

 We need to take thoughtful steps, as we have thus far.  We hope that our government continues to be measured and informed in their decisions to benefit and protect us. Like those of the government of California, where the salon industry will remain closed until later phases, after success is observed first in businesses who can operate within social distancing guidelines. Actions like these will undoubtedly help to reduce strain on our healthcare system and ensure we can continue to move forward economically, not backwards. 

 Hairstylists currently face a $25,000 fine with possible jail time in B.C. for continuing to work. We urge our government not to mandate stylists and barbers back to work first.

*This petition was edited in response to B.C.’s announcement on May 6th, 2020. Our province was informed that we have been participating in phase one from the beginning of B.C.’s implementation of restrictions, unbeknownst to all. Phase two is slated to begin on May 19th.