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2021 is upon us and, even though we shut our eyes and yelled “Jumanji” at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, unfortunately the struggles of 2020 continued into the new year.

COVID-19 complications continued through the holiday season, affecting each state in different ways, and changing things for hair salons in terms of temporary lockdowns, distancing measures, contact tracing and mask mandates.

Here, we wrap up what you should be doing as a hair salon as of mid-January, by state, as per government restrictions. And remember, general 1.5 metre distancing wherever possible, excellent hand hygiene facilities, sign in protocols and other cool COVID-safe gadgets remain in style and paramount.

Beyond that, let’s look at what you’re mandated to do.

NSW

New South Wales had a complicated holiday season, with lockdowns in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and for businesses identified as close contacts of positive cases shutting some salons for weeks.

Now, with the lockdowns over but contact tracing still at the forefront, all NSW hair salons must use the Service NSW COVID Safe Check-in app to electronically register customers. Those without a phone must have their details recorded on another device or, as a last resort, manually.

In Greater Sydney (which includes Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains), face masks are mandatory in indoor venues that include hair salons, for clients and staff. Remember our tips for wearing masks with positivity and health front of mind.

In Greater Sydney, the rule for indoor venues, including salons, is one person per four square metres.  In the rest of NSW, salons must follow the one person per two square metres rule and masks are recommended.

QLD

Queensland also had a tenuous time over the past couple of weeks, with a hotel quarantine scare that sent Brisbane into a three-day lockdown, shutting all businesses, including hair salons, in the process. Thankfully, the lockdown is over and salons are free to operate.

Now, in Greater Brisbane, masks are mandatory until at least January 22. Also in Brisbane, businesses with under 200 square metres of floor space can have one person per 2 square metres, and up to 50 people at a time. One person per four square metres is allowed for larger premises. Salons in the rest of Queensland must remain COVID-safe, but there is no legal mask mandate.

VIC

Victoria also tightened restrictions over the last few weeks following a brief resumption of cases. Currently, masks are mandatory in all indoor venues, including hair salons. From Monday January 18, masks will no longer be mandatory in salons.

Businesses can have up to 1 person per 2 square metres when using electronic record keeping and 1 person per 4 square metres with paper-based record keeping. Businesses are required to note the first name, phone number, dates and times for anyone on their premises for more than 15 minutes.

SA

After an outbreak in November, South Australia was fortunate enough to celebrate a COVID-free Christmas. Salons are currently limited to the one person per two square metres rule, while face masks are recommended if social distancing can’t be achieved.

WA

Western Australia’s COVID safety continues with the two square metres rule and mandatory contact tracing.

NT

The Northern Territory requires hair salons to collect data for contact tracing.

TAS

In Tasmania, hair salons are part of the business sector that can have no more than 250 people per undivided indoor space at any one time, and cannot exceed the one person per two square metres rule.

ACT

For hair salons in the Australian Capital Territory, one person per two square metres is allowed when using the Check In CBR app to register clients. Without using this app, a salon is allowed one person per four square metres outdoors and one person per two square metres indoors.

Happy 2021 hairdressers, remember to stay vigilant and COVID-safe!