A petition calling for barbers and hairstylists not to be part of the first phase of the economic reopening is gaining steam.

As of mid-morning today, nearly 3,100 people have added their names to it on change.org. 

Called “Government of British Columbia: Do not single out hairstylists in phase one”,  it says “hairstylists and barbers are members of the Personal Service Industry, where social distancing is not possible.”

On Saturday, Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said safety measures must be in place before opening workplaces where social distancing is difficult.

“It is a bit of a cautionary tale for us that we’ve seen these outbreaks in (the) poultry industry, for example,” Dr. Henry said. 

“That tells us that we need to make sure that we have the right safety measures in place in each different area of our economy to make sure we can all be comforted, and understand that we are opening up safely, and slowly, and methodically. So we won’t be opening up barbers and stylists (shops) and some of the other industries where we know that you have to have some close contact, until we’re all comfortable, that we have an appropriate plan to be able to do that safely for everybody involved.”

Meanwhile, the petition added that “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 (that) operate in as close proximity to the public as nurses continue to remain closed at this time.”

It notes that in California, the salon industry will remain closed until later phases after success is observed first in businesses that can operate within social distancing guidelines. 

“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,” the petition says.

You can link to it here.