Nose piercing and beard trimming are legal services again

Spas, salons, barbers and tattoo artists can go under the mask in Phase 2 of reopening.

For the professionals, safety around under-the-mask service is the first order of business.
For the professionals, safety around under-the-mask service is the first order of business.

After a long lockdown, you can finally ditch the beard trimmer, the drugstore lip wax and any plans for a DIY piercing. Phase 2 of Nova Scotia’s COVID reopening is here, so the professionals who keep you looking sharp underneath your mask are allowed back to work.

As of Wednesday, June 16, salons, barbers, piercers and tattoo artists can perform under-the-mask services by appointment—no walk-ins allowed until Phase 3—and as long as they have proper safety precautions in place, such as staff wearing both a mask and face shield during the service. Shops have carefully prepared for the big lift, and aren’t messing around when it comes to safety.

Ermal Morina runs Exquisite Cuts, a barber shop on Gottingen Street. He says that he’s going to “proceed with caution and hope for the best.”

While his shop was able to open for haircuts in Phase 1, Morina is now permitted to offer beard trimming in Phase 2. Even though he is able to provide the service, he’s going to take his time and use his discretion. “At the end of the day, I’m running the business and want to feel safe,” he says. “I don’t want to close down again.”

Morina usually requires patrons to give 12 hours notice before cancelling an appointment, but now if someone feels sick before an appointment he encourages them to reach out rather than show up under the weather. “I can always accommodate something like that,” he says.

“At the end of the day, I’m running the business and want to feel safe. I don’t want to close down again.”

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Tattoo and piercing studios will also benefit from the restart of under-the-mask service. At Skin Decision, Claire Savard says that she’s thrilled to get facial piercings back on the menu—after all, nostril piercings are one of the most popular piercings at the shop.

For those rushing to get their nose jabbed, Savard reminds people that mask hygiene is key to being sure your new piercing stays healthy and heals properly. She says to take caution to not bump or snag a new piercing on masks, and be sure to “change your mask as frequently as possible. Wearing the same mask for 10 hours at a time is definitely not ideal.”

In the world of spas, Interlude Spa owner Kai Kraushar says his industry was “caught in the middle” of restrictions during the last lockdown. Given the strict cleaning and sanitization requirements a spa has to follow, akin to a medical clinic, Kraushar says they “were a little perturbed when it all got closed down and we got lumped in [with] the service industry.” But Phase 1 of reopening brought things back on track, and Interlude hired new attendants whose main responsibility is to ensure that high-contact surfaces are routinely wiped down and disinfected.

Given the high demand for other spa services, Interlude is preparing for a rush of clients to under-the-mask services in Phase 2. Masks have “slowed things down a bit,” Kraushar says, becauses people don’t feel as much of a need to get a full wax when working from home, but “as we get closer to full reopening, those services will continue to boom.”