The backflip on a 30-minute time limit on haircuts during the coronavirus outbreak has been labelled “bonkers” by the boss of the largest hairdressing chain in the country.
Just Cuts chief executive Denis McFadden said it was physically impossible for stylists to do their job while observing the four square metre per person rule, which will still be strictly enforced.
Hairdressers and barbers have also been told to minimise personal contact during appointments.
Mr McFadden has called for the sector to be shut down to put the safety of salon staff and customers first.
“Hairdressing is not an essential service,” he said on Thursday.
“Of course I would prefer this weren’t happening at all, and calling for the sector to be shut down might seem counterproductive, but it simply must happen in the interests of people’s health.”
Mr McFadden said without hairdressing on the shutdown list, it was difficult for franchise owners to stand down workers and close their doors.
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have both shut down hair salons.
Mr McFadden issued a direct plea to state and commonwealth governments.
“We understand that you’re trying to juggle protecting livelihoods and saving lives but this decision puts both at risk for our people and clients,” he said.
“Please act now.”
After a backlash from the industry over the 30-minute limit, national cabinet decided on Wednesday night to relax the rules around hairdressers and barbers.
The national cabinet also agreed to ease restrictions around funeral attendees, with the 10-person limit now able to be waived in cases of hardship.
A five-person cap on weddings remains in place.
“I think the five people at a wedding and 10 people at a funeral, different numbers, different timings, we need far clearer clarity of message from the government,” Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said.