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Supporting small business with defiance in Innisfail

Innisfail barbershop continues its battle against provincial COVID restriction

INNISFAIL – Yanik Brazeau and Natalie Klein were back at work Wednesday morning following their highly anticipated and publicized defiance of the provincial COVID order that dictates their barbershop can not re-open until at least Jan. 21.

The couple, who own Bladez 2 Fadez Barbershop, is so determined to keep their business open, despite the very real threat of facing prosecution and big fines, the doors are not only open for humans looking for a trim but pets as well.

“Since pet grooming is essential service, we are groomers today, as apparently we are pets of the government. We are offering pet grooming for humans,” joked the couple on the business Facebook page.

On a more serious note, Brazeau confirmed today (Jan. 13) Bladez 2 Fadez Barbershop is open for business for the second day in a row.

“We are open today,” said Brazeau, adding he was not certain of the potential consequences. “I think they can just fine us.”

Brazeau and Klein first re-opened their doors on Jan. 12, much to the delight of about 50 supporters who came to their business at various times in the morning to thank them for their courage and to wish them well.

While RCMP, provincial government officials and local peace officers stayed out of sight in the morning, an Alberta Health Services (AHS) official appeared at the barbershop with a Mountie to deliver a closure warning that their business was contravening a provincial COVID restriction.

“Today AHS Environmental Public Health, along with municipal partners and RCMP, carried out an inspection at this facility after notification that the operators intended to reopen despite mandatory restrictions,” said Heather Kipling, AHS communications director for Central Zone, in a written statement. “As the facility was operating and taking client appointments, a closure order was issued for failure to comply with Public Health Order 42, as issued by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“Failure to comply with the closure order could result in fines up to $5,000 per day for which businesses are found to be in violation,” added the statement. “Environmental Public Health will continue to inspect all businesses that have been issued a public health order, to ensure compliance.”

Effective Dec. 8 barbering and hair-styling businesses were ordered closed for 28 days, and that order was extended for another two weeks on Jan. 7. These businesses will not be allowed to legally open until at least Jan. 21.

"People are behind us because it needs to change, things need to change here,” said Klein on Jan. 12 as she was giving a haircut. “Big box (stores) can operate at 15 per cent (capacity). I can have one person in my chair in this space. We are looking at 70 square feet, one customer, one chair. They are in and out in 15 minutes.

“The chief medical officer says transmission takes place after 15 to 20 minutes, so how is this not safe? We have all protocols in place. We are following everything,” she added.

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Johnnie Bachusky

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