Hairdressers ‘at risk’ for virus exposure
A doctor has slammed the Australian Government's decision to allow hairdressers to remain open and says the guidelines may put more at risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overnight the government announced increased restrictions on "non-essential" businesses including pools, beauty therapy studios and tattoo parlours.
Hairdressers however, are permitted to continue operating but must keep appointments within a strict 30 minute time frame.
The measures will come into effect at midnight tonight.
Dr Zac Turner who is medical director of the Cosmetic and Wellness and Anti Wrinkle and Skin studios said the move was "absolutely absurd".
"I think it goes against sound medical advice," he told News Corp.
While his business will be restricted by the new guidelines, Mr Turner said they were planning to temporarily close due to COVID-19 before Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement.
Dr Turner expressed concern that under the updated restrictions, hairdressers and their clients would be exposed to a greater risk of contracting the virus.
"Well, now, just to make just to make their wages, they have to see at least one person an hour, which means that they're seeing four or five times the amount of people," he said.
"So rather than limiting the amount of interaction, the government has basically said, 'You guys stay open. We don't really care about the self-isolation thing a whole lot because hair is apparently important for the next two or three weeks'."
He added he was concerned virus particles could be spread even further by hairdryers used in salons.
Dr Turner said some of his business' locations were next to hairdressers and they had to pass on medical advice to the staff because no guidelines had been provided to them.
"We were talking to them and we were giving them out disease protocols because they didn't have anything," he said.
"They were told to stay open, but no one was saying that they had to wear gloves."
Australian Hairdressing Council CEO Sandy Chong said the decision was "outrageous" and put hairdressers in the virus firing line.
"Around 40,000 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.
"As for the 30 minute appointment rule, that cuts out most services that salons offer their clients, particularly colour.
"Whilst many barbers can do a male haircut within that time frame, it really isn't feasible for a majority of hairdressing salons."
Ms Chong said many hairdressing salons had made the decision to close despite the government's guidelines in a bid to keep staff safe.
Members of the council had expressed their disappointment with the decision, according to Ms Chong.
"I would say that ninety nine point nine nine per cent actually want to close," she said.
"They don't feel that they can work within that 30 minute parameter, but also too just concerned for their own safety."
Originally published as Hairdressers 'at risk' for virus exposure