Calgary hairstylist weighs risks of staying open amid COVID-19 crisis

A Calgary hairstylist is wondering how long her business can stay open amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Aisha Ladha operates Hair by Aisha and rents a chair out of a salon at Skribbles Hair Company in northwest Calgary.

The salon is quiet these days. In fact, on Tuesday morning, she was the only person there.

“Business has definitely slowed down. We have had a lot of clients obviously wanting to do social distancing,” she said.

“I have personally been calling all of my clients just to see what they want to do” said Lahda, who has been a hairstylist for 19 years.

She said some clients plan to wait the crisis out, but for those who do come in to get their hair done, Ladha said all possible precautions are being taken.

Still, she is worried.

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“We are not six feet away from the next person. We are right up against them, so of course, you are worried about it,” Ladha said.

“But we are doing everything we can and we are hoping that clients are doing everything they can with coming in: making sure they are washing their hands as soon as they come in, making sure they haven’t been away travelling or that they don’t feel sick.”

Ladha said between each client, she and her fellow stylists are sanitizing the chairs and wiping down all surfaces.

“We are trying to do the best we can on our end to keep our business still going,” she said.

Ladha is also concerned about how this will affect her financially.

“What I depend on is interacting with people,” she said.

“I am definitely worried about how financially this is going to be in the long term. It’s already a lot slower than it has been, and it’s getting slower.”

So why did she decide to remain open? Ladha said it’s about making clients feel good, especially in these stressful times.

“It gives them a place to come and escape and for a little bit, and when they are here, they can actually focus on themselves and feel really good about themselves and that’s what I like,” she said.

According to Alberta Health Services, there are no restrictions on personal services like hairdressers, tattoo parlours or massage services at this time. Service providers are reminded to take preventative measures like thoroughly cleaning equipment, providing handwashing stations for staff and clients, and asking customers if they feel sick.

Ladha said there are only two or three people at a time in the salon now. It is home to four stylists, all of whom are facing an uncertain future.

“We are sort of waiting to see what the government has to issue,” Ladha said

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