Fallen for Nails, Hair & Beauty Salon in Duncan is facing controversy over masking regulations.
Calls to the salon were not returned, but the shop on Brae Road has been the subject of complaints that it is flouting mask rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Island Health gave the business an order to close for not meeting COVID-19 protocols on Jan. 22, and the order stipulates it can’t reopen until its it meets specific criteria related to the protocols around the wearing of masks.
Neighbouring businesses to the salon in the office building have been complaining that the owner, identified as Taneal Maloney, has been refusing to ask clients or staff to wear masks or follow COVID-19 safety protocols.
A worker at neighbouring Beautiful Smiles Denture Clinic called Dana, who asked that her last name not be used as colleagues have gotten some pushback over the story, said staff and clients at the denture clinic use the same bathrooms and common rooms as those from the salon, and she and other staff fear for the safety of the clinic’s clients by being exposed to people not wearing masks, as is currently mandated.
“We have a lot of elderly and vulnerable clients,” Dana said.
“We don’t want the salon shut down, we just want it to follow the rules as everyone else does. That’s all we want. There are now blinds on the salon’s doors and windows and there has been no activity there in the last couple of days.”
Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples said the city has been receiving complaints about the salon for some time, and suspended its business licence on Dec. 16.
She said the salon has been fined for operating without a business licence since then.
Staples said the city had tried educating people at the salon about why masks are necessary and the fact that wearing them is mandatory, but with no results and the complaints about the business continued.
She said WorksafeBC and Island Health have also ordered penalties and issued a 30-day shut down order, and the salon has been visited by the RCMP, but the business had continued to defy the authorities.
Staples said she has not talked to Maloney about why she continues not to make her staff and clients wear masks, but she said she had received emails from her.
“[Maloney] has accused city staff of trespassing on her property and violating their human rights,” Staples said.
“She also said the orders from Island Health to wear the masks are corrupt. It’s an awful feeling having to speak to a business about not complying with wearing masks. I can’t comprehend the thinking behind it. We don’t want to attack and harass a business about health orders, but we don’t want to put people at risk either.”
Sonia Furstenau, MLA for the Cowichan Valley, said she is aware of the situation and has talked to Mike Farnworth, minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to determine what steps can be taken if the salon continues to defy the mask rules.
“I think it’s important to recognize that the precautions we are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic are for our own protection and to protect others,” she said.
A statement from the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s office said generally speaking, investigations and enforcement of violations are undertaken at the discretion of police and provincial enforcement agencies.
“If violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, or in cases of particularly egregious contraventions or for repeat offenders, police can choose to pursue a long-form prosecution under the Offence Act. Under this process, courts can impose penalties up to $10,000 and/or one-year jail time for contraventions of the Emergency Program Act.”
This story was edited. The original version indicated Fallen for Nails, Hair & Beauty Salon in Duncan had closed temporarily. It is unclear if the business is continuing to operate at this time.