Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Government’s traffic light system a ‘waste of time’ say Auckland hairdressers

Hairdressers in Auckland are furious with the Government over its lockdown announcement, and say the traffic light system is “pathetic”, “illogical” and a “waste of time”.

They say the isolation was also taking a toll on their mental health.

Glamour Hair Boutique owner Kylie Pointon said the Government needs to let hairdressers back into business now instead of waiting for the traffic lights to turn on.

“What exactly are we waiting for?” she said.

“I am double vaccinated, my whole team is double vaccinated and most of my clients told me they were double vaccinated.

“The Government’s Monday announcement was absolutely pathetic because they didn’t even tell us when we were moving to level 3, stage 3 that would allow us to operate,” she said.

The Government said Auckland restriction would ease from Wednesday next week, to allow retailers to open doors for the first time in weeks.

But it’s still another week of no revenue for many small businesses and there is still no firm date on when restaurants, bars and hairdressers might open under controlled conditions.

Waikato retailers can open from Wednesday under the second stage of level 3.

The restrictions would further ease once all the three DHBs in Auckland reach 90 per cent vaccinations, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Pointon said the Government’s traffic light system was a “bloody waste of time” and it was making her very anxious having to look after nine of her staff members.

“Not having any income is making us very anxious,” she said.

The Government’s financial support didn’t even scratch the surface when it came to covering the basic business expenses, she said.

“We need some clarity when we’ll be able to trade again, so we can get organised,”

Pointon said the hairdressers are very social people and they strived on that social connection and not being able to socialise was having a huge impact on her and her staff’s mental health.

“I feel absolutely terrible, for myself and for my staff.

“I can’t believe that people can get their cosmetic botox done but not cut their hair,” she said.

Pointon said hairdressing played a huge part in the mental health of the people and how people viewed themselves.

“I feel like we play such a huge impact on how people feel about themselves and their mental health.

“It’s really unfair when you can go shopping at Kmart with hundreds of people but you can’t get your hair done in a controlled sanitise mask-wearing environment,” she said.

In October Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the new traffic light system which would come into effect when each of the Auckland three DHB the 90 per cent target,

The new traffic light framework would come into effect making use of vaccine certificates.

Then Ardern said Auckland is scheduled to hit its target before Christmas, meaning more freedoms.

There are three stages, but all three allow relatively high rates of freedom compared to the current alert level system. However, they will also require the use of vaccine certificates for nearly everything apart from essential retail and services, like supermarkets and GPs.

The owner of Mint Hairdressing Karen Erp also echoed a similar sentiment around the traffic light system and said the politicians need to understand the ground reality of what the people are facing.

“I don’t understand why the shopping malls can open but not a small hair salon.

“It defies logic,” she said.

“The traffic light is the most useless system.

“People in Wellington need to come out of their ivory towers and just see how we are suffering,” Erp said.

The wage subsidy which her staff got from the Government was not more than a “token” than what they usually earned.

“The wage subsidy doesn’t even cover the cost of living for us,” she said.

“I don’t know how much longer I can go without opening, I have no idea,” she said.

The isolation and not being able to go back to work had taken everyone to a breaking point mentally, she said.

“You bump into streets with people and everyone’s got tears in their eyes, you’ve got tears in your eyes, it’s been the longest 10-weeks for me,” she said.

The lack of clarity from the Government had taken a toll on her mental health, she said.

“There is just no clarification and this is just mentally exhausting,” she said.

Owner of Fusion Salon Joy Beech said as hairdressers, the entire industry already had very high health and safety regulations already yet she was confused for the reason why the Government had not allowed them to open.

And she found the traffic light system from the Government was very unclear.

“The light system is too confusing.

“Hairdressers need to have one of the highest health and safety standards even when we are not in Covid and now I don’t understand why we can’t open when people can go and get their botox done,” she said.

“Our salon is absolutely booked in time for Christmas, we are even struggling to service all of them, we have to put our Christmas holidays on hold so we can serve our customers after Christmas.

“So it’s getting very tough,” she said.

“We are in between a rock and hard place when it comes to complying by the Government mandated Covid-19 rules and with what our clients are telling us,” she said.

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