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'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.

In the tightened measures, Morrison stated personal services including beauty therapy, tattoo parlours, massage parlours and waxing services would be forced to close as of midnight tonight.

However, hairdressers and barbershops would be allowed to continue operating, with appointments being restricted to a maximum of 30 minutes.

“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,” said the Prime Minister during the press conference.

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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.

In addition to the 30 minute rule, Morrison said hair dressers would also have to adhere to social distancing rules within their salons.

“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.”

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The contradictions in the new rules for hairdressers as well as the shortened consultation times have been attacked by the Australian Hairdressing Council.

They believe keeping salons open puts 40,000 hairdressers and barbers at risk, pointing out it's near impossible for them to practice social distancing while cutting a client's hair.

The 30 minute consultation time is further not a viable time frame, as conducting most hairdressing services while offering a professional experience takes longer than this, CEO Sandy Chong pointed out.

“This decision is outrageous. 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," 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 noted while the half hour appointment time is okay for men, it doesn't apply to services requested by women.

“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," Chong said.

The National Cabinet will meet again tonight to discuss a number of other measures as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold in Australia, with Chong urging them to reconsider their position on hairdressers and barbers.

“We must be on the agenda at tonight’s meeting so that this decision can be reversed. The Government must close hairdressing and barbering down for the safety of our workers and the community," she said.

And the irony of these new measures have not been lost on anyone, certainly not on hairdressers or their client, as well as Twitter.

The new limits for hairdressers have caused many salons to make the difficult decision to close, regardless of the 30 minute rule, as it would make it too difficult for them to complete their work.

Sydney-based hairdresser Maria Wassef who operates a home salon explained she was left with no other choice but to temporarily close her business.

"As the continuation of COVID-19 is getting closer to home and being a home salon, myself and my family's health is my first priority," Wassef wrote, pointing out that colour services also take up to three hours.

"So it is with deep regret that I have made the decision to close the salon for now until all settles down."

Hairdresser Hannah Balmforth made the same decision to close her salon, stating 30 minutes per client for hair services "which you will be aware, is unachievable."

Another Sydney hairdresser expressed her outrage over the new rule on Instagram, writing in response to Scott Morrison's press conference: "30 minutes to hairdressers, okay idiot, I'll mix the colour, apply it and send the client home to rinse, tone and cut it themselves."

"Shut schools down, shut the country down, look after your people, not just the money," they continued.

Featured image: Getty

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