w lifestyle

This Toronto salon is doing outdoor haircuts upon request

At a time when simply going to get your hair cut presents some degree of a safety risk, one Toronto salon is allowing patrons to request outdoor haircuts. 

W Lifestyle, a hair salon located at 676 Richmond St. W., has been open to the public since early July. And while outdoor haircuts aren't being actively offered and promoted, they are available to customers who ask for them in advance. 

"It's not really an offering, but if our clients request it's possible until the weather doesn't permit," said Trancis, one of the stylists who's more than willing to cut hair outside. "I feel safer doing it and a lot of clients also feel safer."

Trancis told blogTO he's done about five haircuts outdoors so far thanks to the little gated patio in front of the salon, and he's more than happy to keep doing them until it's simply too cold.

"It's working great for us," he said of the patio. "It's gated so it still feels private enough."

He added that the fresh air makes him feel safer, though one client did start to get a little chilly during his most recent outdoor trim. 

But regardless of the outdoor option, Trancis said the salon is far quieter than it was pre-pandemic, with many previous clients choosing to stay away and instead let their hair grow out or turn grey.

But he said he doesn't mind, because wearing a mask non-stop has its own set of challenges and can only be done for so long.

Not to mention that not being able to see a customer's face makes cutting their hair extremely difficult, he added. 

"After I'm done three people a day, I'm good with that," he said. "Four is kind of pushing it with the mask on."

Before COVID-19, Trancis would do up to seven cuts per day without a hitch. But now there just aren't enough hours in a day, because he has to book 15-minute slots between clients to sanitize his tools and station, and he often books another 15 minutes just to go outside and take his mask off and breathe.

But despite the slight discomfort of wearing a mask all day, Trancis said he wouldn't dream of taking it off — even when customers say they don't mind if he does (which has actually happened). 

He said he's done everything in his power to be as safe as possible since the start of the pandemic, and he wouldn't be that surprised or even mind too much if the salon was forced to close again as a result of rising case numbers.

"If it keeps going like it is now, I'm expecting it to shut down again probably during the winter months," he said. "Whatever it takes for everybody to get over this."

But for now, he said he'll keep doing outdoor haircuts for anyone that requests one.

"As long as the weather permits, I'm good with it," he said. "I actually enjoy it."

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