Last April 29, Premier Brian Pallister unveiled the multi-phase approach of restoring services in Manitoba. In a news conference, he said that it is critical to note the timing and specifics noted in each phase are subject to change, based on the advice of public health experts and a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors.
Phase one has already started last May 4 which includes priority elective surgeries, diagnostic screening and re-opening of non-essential businesses where critical public health measures and travel restrictions remain.
Included in the non-essential services that were permitted to open was hair salons.
“We jumped for joy! We were excited!” This was the reaction of Donna Lacdao and her family after knowing that they could finally re-open their family-owned salon business, Donna D Stylist Salon, located on Arlington St.
Lacdao shared that their business was hard hit financially following the enforced shutdown of non-essential businesses last April 1. Right now, though they have to adjust to the new normal, they are content that they are once again open for business.

While some non-essential services and businesses who were allowed to re-open chose to remain closed, Donna d’ Stylist Salon was all set to resume business anytime the government eases up restriction and allows re-opening.

“We closed on March 19 because we were scared and we thought of the safety of our staff and clients.” said Donna Lacdao, owner of Donna d’ Stylist Salon.

Shutting down the business prior to the official shutdown on April 1 that got extended until May 3, Lacdao said that they were severely affected having zero revenue in that period.

“I was saddened by the closure. I cried. It seemed that the world stopped.” shared Lacdao. “But I thought I should just be open to any situation because there’s a reason behind all this.”

After the government announced that non-essential businesses including hair salons, started getting calls and got fully-booked right away.

Since they re-opened last Monday, they have implemented strict protocols in the salon as set by the government of Manitoba.

“We always update our clients through social media. We inform them what the new normal are in the salon like safety guidelines and precautions. We screen our guests before they enter using the screening questions provided by the government. We check their temperature and we have hand sanitizers by the door,” said Donna, citing some of the new rules in the salon.

The salon also limits occupancy to 50 per cent of normal business levels. Since they have six salon chairs, they can only service 3 clients at the same time with one stylist per client. They only take appointments, no walk-ins.

The staff also stopped offering complimentary drinks to clients. Customers should come by themselves unless needing special assistance. They only offer short services like haircut and roots touch up. For longer services like hair treatments and full hair coloring, clients can come back for another appointment.

Physical distancing is still strictly followed. Stations and washroom are frequently disinfected and sanitized too.

“More than half of the cleaning protocols are normal to us. We’ve been doing them because it’s part of our business. It’s just that extra precaution that we should take and guide our clients accordingly, ” said Erwin Lacdao, Donna’s husband and salon’s co-owner.

When asked about their clients’ reaction to the new normal at the salon, “We don’t have a problem with our clients because everybody is aware and informed, so they just follow,” Erwin said
“You feel safe going to the salon. I appreciate that they follow safety protocols that the government is providing,” said regular customer Catherine Tan.

While they still need to recover from zero revenue for over a month, the 50% occupancy limit of normal business levels doesn’t allow them yet to go full-blast with their business in order to recoup.

“That’s really big in terms of the revenue. 50% capacity means 50% off our potential revenue. But we have to do this for everybody’s safety,” Erwin said.

The Lacdao’s are happy on how the government responded to the crisis, aiding their staff members that they had to lay off. They also expressed their gratitude to the clients who have already shown support by booking appointments. They see hope in the esthetic services industry.

“We don’t know when this is all going to be over or when our business will completely recover but we are hoping for the best. We are staying positive. Let us continue to do our part and we will get there sooner.” said Erwin and Donna Lacdao with full optimism.

Photos by Ron Cantiveros