PM backflips on 30-minute rule
The government have backflipped on its decision to restrict hairdressers and barbers to 30-minute appointments as part of the strategy to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Australia.
In a statement today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had listened to the feedback of the "practical implementation" of the COVID-19 measures and agreed with Premiers and Chief Ministers at National Cabinet last night that the "instruction regarding 30 minutes per patron will be lifted".
This will be effective immediately, but that the 4 sqm rule per person must still adhered to during the appointments while also limiting personal contact.
It comes after the hairdressing industry slammed the government's decision to keep them open for business despite shutting down every other beauty profession, saying they're "outraged" and labelling the decision "ridiculous".
Hairdressers and barbers were also given instructions to limit appointments to 30 minutes while adhering to the social distancing limitations of keeping 1.5m from others at all times.
Sandy Chong, CEO of The Australian Hairdressing Council, slammed the decision and called on the Prime Minister to shut them down.
"We are totally outraged that the government is putting our hairdressers and our community at risk by keeping us open and with the most outrageous expectations that we will service customers in 30 minutes," Ms Chong told news.com.au.
"You've got 40,000 hairdressers and barbers who are now at risk. If a client comes in for a cut and colour for two hours, that's one client in that time frame. Or if it's 30 minutes, that's four people in two hours. It doesn't make sense, it does not make sense to us."
She went on to explain that it was hard enough to make sure everything was sterilised with hospital grade disinfectant after every client.
"The fact we all have stepped up those cleaning practices so much when its so hard to get hand sanitisers and disinfectant at the moment it just puts everybody at risk. We should be closed."
Katherine Gosson, a hairdresser at Vanity Hair in Jindabyne, echoed the sentiment, telling news.com.au the previous advice was extremely confusing.
"We're in the same position as any beauty salon or tanning salon where we have that same close contact so I don't know what makes us so different?" she said.
"You're one-on-one with a client, social distancing to have your clients 1.5m apart - I mean, how can you cut hair that far apart? It makes no sense.
"You wouldn't be doing any colours, blow dries, it's just basic cuts. It's just a dumb, dumb rule."
The backlash from the hairdressing community came hours after Scott Morrison implemented the now abandoned limits on businesses as part of stage two of the coronavirus lockdown.
"We are not unconscious of the real impact these measures are having on the lives of daily Australians so we will continue to do everything we can, both as a federal government and at state government and territory governments around the country, to do all we can to support our people through what is going to be an incredibly difficult time," he said last night.
He said while barbers and hairdresser would remain open there would be new restrictions on time spent in salons, with customer required to spend no more than 30 minutes having their hair done.
"It is very important to strictly manage the social distancing and limitations of the number of people in their premises, so that's four square metres per person," he said.
"On top of that, to restrict the amount of time a patron is in the premise to no more than 30 minutes."
But not everyone in the hairdressing community was up in arms about the rules, with celebrity hairstylist Anthony Nader, who owns RAW Salon in Surry Hills, telling news.com.au he would be working with the new restrictions.
"I am staying positive and so is my team - this is what we need as a country and we will get through this. In the interim we will stay open and honour the new regulations," he said, explaining he has adapted the level of services on offer.
At the salon people can still go in for blow dries but will need to have freshly washed damp hair, and cuts, which they will perform in the allocated 30 minutes.
"All hair cuts and blow-dry/styling services will be at 50 per cent off for the period of regulations," he added, revealing medical professionals including doctors and nurses - will be welcome for free haircuts while we are still open.
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Earlier this week Mark Rippon from the Hair and Beauty Industry Association (HBIP) said current official recommendations are for staff to use personal protective equipment like gloves, aprons and masks if a person is sick.
"We are also clearly recommending if you are unwell to stay away from the workplace and if clients are unwell to reschedule appointments," he said. The issue of whether a face mask should be worn hasn't been specifically addressed by the government at this stage either.
Originally published as PM backflips on 30-minute rule