Nail salons appear to be ignoring social distancing restrictions as they deal with a last-minute rush of clients desperate for beauty treatments before strict coronavirus rules come into force.
At two nail shops in the upmarket Sydney suburb of Double Bay, women getting pedicures and manicures were packed in like sardines – uncertain how long it will be before they can visit again.
Beauty salons have been ordered to shut by Prime Minister Scott Morrison from midnight on Wednesday, while hairdressers will be limited to 30-minute sessions with clients.
USA Nails manager Tina Nguyuen told Daily Mail Australia they were turning women away because they were abiding by social distancing rules – despite in-store photos showing otherwise.
USA Nails salon in the affluent Sydney suburb of Double Bay was crammed with women early on Wednesday, desperate for one last beauty treatment before new coronavirus regulations come into force
Despite being seated in their usual positions, the store manager claimed they were complying with social distancing regulations
During the 11am rush on Wednesday, nine women sat side-by-side receiving both hand and feet beauty treatments.
USA Nails’ manager Ms Nguyen seemed confused about the social distancing rules, telling Daily Mail Australia they were complying despite having more than one client within a four square metre area.
‘We have had to refuse customers and tell them to come back, so we can keep the (required) distance,’ Ms Nguyen said.
‘We can’t have everyone in the shop, we have to keep the distance. They are rushing in to get their nails cleaned before we shut.
‘I think it’s a very good idea (to keep the distance). I think they should lock it down, we are all out of a job from tomorrow so what’s the difference?’
It was a similar story just around the corner at Le Nails Day Spa and Beauty.
Women – young and old – were allowed to sit next to each other in massage recliner chars, or at tables while receiving a manicure.
Just around the corner at Le Nails Day Spa, women – young and old – were allowed to sit next to each other in massage recliner chars, or at tables while receiving a manicure
Not all nail salons experienced a mad rush on Wednesday, with some deciding it was best that they shut their doors amid the threat of coronavirus to staff and clients
The number of coronavirus cases in Australia rose above 2.300 on Wednesday, with the death of a woman in her 70s who was a passenger on the Ruby Princess cruise ship taking the total to eight
Two friends waiting for beauty treatment sat right next to each other in the waiting area.
Other nail salons in the city’s eastern suburbs chose not to open on Wednesday, as did a number of hairdressers whose businesses are no long viable.
Among those open for one last day was Rahil Zadeh, who owns Antler Hair in Bondi.
She said she had to make devastating calls to three of her employees after the prime minister’s press conference last night to tell them they no longer had a job.
Ms Zadeh hopes assistance from her landlord will allow her to reopen her doors down the track, but the future is uncertain.
‘I had to call all my staff last night to tell them (the bad news), because with half-hour appointments we are not going to be able to accommodate our clients,’ she said.
‘I would do around 120 clients a week, but my business has dropped 70 per cent this week.
Rahil Zadeh, who owns Antler Hair in Bondi, was open for one last day on Wednesday. She will have to shut her doors from tomorrow after the government banned haircuts longer than 30 minutes
Frank Provost salon manager Maya Kulage said she had spent the morning trying to call clients with bookings in the days ahead, to see if they could come in urgently before the restrictions are enforced
The streets of Bondi were busy with shoppers and exercisers on Wednesday, despite people being urged to stay at home
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 2,368
New South Wales: 1029
Western Australia: 175
South Australia: 170
Australian Capital Territory: 44
Northern Territory: 5
TOTAL CASES: 2,368
‘We all want to keep safe and keep everyone else safe, but from tomorrow I won’t be able to make any money, I won’t be able to pay rent, I can’t keep the doors open.’
Frank Provost salon manager Maya Kulage said she had spent the morning trying to call clients with bookings in the days ahead, to see if they could come in urgently.
But with just two hairdressers and a maximum of two clients in the store at any time because of coronavirus precautions, many women will miss out.
‘I have called people with bookings this morning to see if they can come in today,’ Ms Kulage said.
‘Two have said they can, but many can’t – or don’t want to.
‘We don’t know what the plan is, but we hope we’re going to close – just for ours and our clients health, that’s the biggest concern at the moment.’