Amber Voice, who owns hair salons in Red Deer and Airdrie, says she had to reschedule about 1,200 clients at each of her locations due to the recent COVID-19 lockdown. That, combined with new appointments, is going to keep the salons busy once they reopen Monday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Salons are busy: Red Deerians rushing to get their hair done

As Alberta sheds COVID-19 restrictions, many Red Deerians are looking for a post-lockdown do.

But depending on what you’re looking for – colour or a cut – there is a wait.

Two Red Deer salon owners say their phones are ringing off the hook from people looking for new appointments, or to reschedule older appointments that had to be postponed due to the recent lockdown.

Salons in central Alberta were given the green light to open May 14.

Some Red Deer salons, such as Studio Roberto Elite Hair Salon on 67th Street, and ClassiCuts Oasis on Kent Street, reopened when the Alberta government gave its nod.

Some others are not open just yet.

Owner and stylist Roberto Balistoy at Studio Roberto Elite Hair Salon, said he’s booked until the end of June.

Another stylist who works at the same salon, is booked until next week, after which there are some openings, depending on the service.

“It depends: if you need a haircut, we can accommodate you; but if you need colour, or highlights, or brazilian blowout, that needs more time,” he said.

Salon Harper owner Amber Voice, who owns an outlet by the same name in Airdrie, said she has rebooked about 1,200 appointments at each of her locations, due to the lockdown.

Salon Harper opens Monday.

A longer-service appointment is available at the local salon the third week in June.

“But if it was just a haircut, we could accommodate it sooner. But it also depends on the preference of the stylist,” Voice explained.

Both salon owners said the lack of available appointments is due to pent-up demand, as well as ongoing restrictions.

“People want their hair done,” said Voice. “I think it signifies demand at all salons. I would think it’s just supply and demand.”

Both salon owners have assigned 15 minutes between appointments for extra cleaning and disinfecting.

“That time adds up in a day,” said Voice.

Balistoy also had to rebook appointments that were unable to be performed while the salon was closed.

“When I posted my openings, appointments piled up for the whole month,” he said.

Salon visits also look different in the pandemic world.

Heather McNutt, manager at Safari Spa and Salon in Clearview, said the staff is asking clients not to arrive early, as the waiting area is closed. Those who do come in early are asked to wait in their vehicles until the stylists are ready for them.

“When you haven’t seen your clients for so long, and when they come in, you want to go up and hug them, but you can’t do that anymore.

“You have to be respectable of spacing and just respectful of people, because some people are really worried about it, while some aren’t,” McNutt said, adding protecting staff and customers is her top priority.

With some restrictions still in place, the salon has taken magazines and product testers off the shelves, and is not serving tea or coffee.

The staff at Safari are using personal protective equipment as well, and have their hair stations set up six feet apart.

McNutt said the high volume of calls coming in shows demand for hair service is high, and some hairstylists are working longer hours to accommodate their customers.

“It shows hairstylists should be part of essential service,” McNutt said with a chuckle.

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