West Kelowna  

Hair salon refuses to cut 10-month-old baby's hair because he wasn't wearing a mask

No baby mask? No haircut

Sarah Balkenhol is upset with Great Clips in West Kelowna after she was refused service when she took her son Barrett in for his first haircut.

"They asked me if I had a mask for him. I responded that he was under a year old. They said that he needed to wear a mask to be in the business," Balkenhol tells Castanet.

Children under the age of two are not required by law to wear masks, in fact, it’s not recommended. It’s a safety hazard that could lead to choking, suffocation, and causes them to touch their face more, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

"I was very much looking forward to putting his lock of hair in his baby book and it was very confrontational and very negative and really put a damper on the whole experience," Balkenhol says.

"I don't even think they said 'sorry.' I've tried to contact the owner, contacted head office and my calls have not been returned," she adds.

Businesses have a right to refuse entry to customers not wearing a mask, but they also have a duty to accommodate customers and workers who may not be able to wear masks for disability or other medical reasons.

Castanet spoke with Great Clips in West Kelowna's franchisee, Paul Baumback, who says he's choosing to err on the side of caution to keep stylists and customers safe from contracting COVID-19.

"The labour standards in B.C. are very clear that people do not have to do something they don't feel comfortable in doing, especially something where it can't be social distanced," explains Baumback.

Sarah says she hopes this Great Clips location will just stop serving children under the age of two.

"To allow children under the age of two in and force them to wear masks is very unsafe," she adds.

As for Barrett, another salon was able to give him a fresh new look.

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