Local stylists and salon owners call for external investigation into Beards for Bucks

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The contraversy over the Beards for Bucks fundraiser held in Owen Sound on July 11 isn't quite over yet.  

A group of more than 30  local hair stylists and salon operators have signed a written statement calling for an independent investigation into the involvement of nine politicians who had their covid beards shaved off to raise money for PPE for health care workers.  

They're upset that the event was held despite Stage 2 re opening rules which prevents THEM from shaving or trimming beards.  

They also cite lack of proper sanitization as well as improper mask and physical distancing protocols.  

Several of the politicians have issued public apologies.  

Initially the plan was that each of the nine men shave their own beards but somehow that plan appeared to have changed at the 11th hour.   

Meanwhile Grey Bruce's Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ian Arra says he did receive an official complaint.  

Public health followed up and they now consider the matter closed.  

Below is the written statement from the local small business owners ~ 

We are an unaffiliated group of local small business owners and professionals in the hair care industry who have grave concerns about an event that was held at Georgian Bay Centre for the Arts in Owen Sound on Saturday, July 11th, 2020. The ‘Beards for Bucks’ shave-off directly violated numerous public health regulations, hair care industry standards, and Stage Two Reopening requirements.

The event was a fundraiser for the GBHS Hospital Foundation and while we certainly support the cause, the way in which it was conducted has left us with serious concerns about public health in our community.

In a livestreamed video of the event, several of us witnessed:

Nine unmasked men shaved by one hairdresser in a little over 30 minutes, despite facial services and beard grooming being expressly prohibited in Stage Two of reopening. 

No regard for proper sanitization between clients; in one case, the hairdresser went straight from one man to the next without even spraying the clippers. Our consensus is that the sanitization protocol we are all required to follow takes 10 to 30 minutes after each client.

The hairdresser was bare-faced during the video introduction and social portion of the event, then put on a fabric mask while shaving.

Participants were interviewed for the livestream video (now deleted) as they were being shaved, so they were unmasked and talking in close contact with the hairdresser and interviewer.

Participants held the hand mirrors for one another so were in close contact and also handling the mirrors without sanitization between contacts. Phones were also passed around for photos, in one case immediately after a gentleman had coughed on his bare hand.

There was no evidence of COVID screening.

The two workstations were not equipped with barriers or dividers.

Alcohol-based sanitizer was not available at each station as required; the organizer’s statement said it was at the door to the venue.

At least 15 people gathered for the event including nine participants, media from three organizations, hospital foundation representatives, and some family members of participants.

In addition, the venue in which the event was held was open to the public at the time. Organizers have explained that some people were inside and some outside so this is not a gathering of more than 10 people, which is prohibited in Stage Two of Reopening. However, attendees clearly mingled with one another and regardless of where they were positioned at any given time, each person was exposed to more than 10 others.

Social distancing was not respected and participants did not maintain a distance of six feet.

Given the political influence and power of those involved locally, we are issuing a joint complaint asking that this issue be referred to officials outside of Grey and Bruce for investigation.

We do not believe there has been or can be a fair investigation into it here as the only actions to date have been to delete evidence of the event and to minimize the infractions.
Within 48 hours of the event:

That approximately 32-minute livestreamed video of the event was deleted by the Hospital Foundation and replaced with a statement from its representative Richard Thomas, also the ‘Beards for Bucks’ organizer.

Three of the nine elected officials involved—Alex Ruff, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP; Bill Walker, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP; and Ian Boddy, Mayor of Owen Sound—released statements devoid of any further action to be taken.

Also participating in the event were John Woodbury, Mayor of Southgate; Aakash Desai, Deputy Mayor of Grey Highlands, Selwyn Hicks, Deputy Mayor of Hanover; and Richard Thomas, Travis Dodd, and Scott Greig from Owen Sound City Council.

The Grey Bruce Public Health Unit issued a statement stating that they had received no complaints about the event and intended to focus on investigating only the hairdresser who did the shaves.

Five of us had issued complaints by that point and three had written letters to the editor (two were published).

We have struggled, business owners and employees alike, to meet the stringent COVID-19 reopening regulations required of us.

The expense of meeting new sanitization guidelines and social distancing protocol has been considerable, and we are also experiencing a major reduction in revenue as we are prohibited from providing our full menu of services. 

Our circumstances differ—some are single parents or the only source of income in our household right now; others are without daycare or having to provide care for other family members.

However, we have each prioritized adherence to our industry standards and public health regulations because we care about our community and our clients, and we will do whatever it takes to keep COVID-19 at bay in Grey and Bruce. 

We have come together to issue this joint complaint in the hopes that the issue will be taken seriously and immediate action taken.

To see so many of our elected officials flagrantly violate those regulations is disappointing. How can we enforce that our own clients wear masks and explain that they cannot have the same services they just saw politicians enjoying on Facebook? But moreover, there is an ongoing public health concern here that is not being addressed. 

To date, none of those involved have committed to isolating for the next 14 days. 

The response from our Public Health unit is particularly puzzling and troublesome, as any one of us would have been fined and ordered to shut down, possibly even sanctioned by our trade organization, had we behaved as these elected officials did. 

We believe that:
-all involved should face the same fines any other member of the public would receive if they flagrantly violated Ontario law and public health regulations as these men did
-all participants should isolate for 14 days to ensure no one else in our community is impacted by this flagrant disregard for COVID-19 prevention measures
-each participant should voluntarily donate to the Hospital Foundation to support the purchase of PPE for use in this region 
-the hairstylist involved, Jeffrey Robbins, should be fined and inspected, in addition to quarantining for 14 days
-if the video of the event still exists, it should be republished and any public officials who released false statements about its contents should be sanctioned by their peers

The safety of our community should be the top priority for all of us, including those we elected to represent us.

These men did not represent any of us with their actions July 11th and no one in this community is above the law.


Grey and Bruce Hair Care Professionals:

Sara McCallan - Self-employed esthetician
Jen Wagner - Hair, Body & Soul
Tonya Miller - Hair, Body & Soul
Rebecca Ironmonger - Rebecca’s Pretty Green Hair Services
Jamie Lyn Wilder - Crowns and Fades
Ashley Hobbs - The Spa West 9th Street
Mindy Biggar - The Spa West 9th Street
Miranda Smart - Family Affair Hair Care
Kendra Wettlaufer - Making Headlines Hair Studio
Andrea Redeker - Hair, Body & Soul
Heather Eyselein - The Admiral’s Barbershop
Angela Snow - Smartstyle
Beth Hipwell - Polished Owen Sound
Kim Bell - Cutmaster
Jeff Feltis - Salon Hairlarious
Selena Jackson - Hair, Body & Soul
Travis Lundy - First Choice Haircutters
Anne Dekkers - Anne Dekkers, independent stylist
Katie Currie - Godmother Hair Design
Rachael Gingras - Self-employed
Meg Hallman - The Falls Inn and Spa
Sherrylee Walpole - Hair, Body & Soul
Julia Dixon - I Feel Pretty Esthetics
Kim Longley - Hair, Body & Soul
Charly Webb - Cut Master
Shelley Tilson - The Barbershop
Katie Currie - Godmother Hair Design
Molly Byers - Molly's Just Teasin' Hair Salon
Jessica Bell - Cut Master
Kristen Hartley - Foxx Salon and Spa
Brett Webber - Shear Experience
Abby Gibbons - Hairstyling student
Kim Campbell - Kim’s Pretty Parlour
Melonie Zehr-Holst - Shear Love by Mel




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