Already dealing with a downturn in business due to the coronavirus, hair salon owner Luke Whittle has spent most of this week trying to figure out whether he's even able to open at all.
Almost 24 hours after the national cabinet announced restrictions on hairdressing appointments to 30 minutes to stop the spread of the virus, the restrictions were lifted on Thursday morning.
Mr Whittle, who owns the Off London hair salon in Civic, said the reversal provided much-needed relief.
"We are still very limited as to what we can do but it means we can still provide a basic service," Mr Whittle said.
"We've been yearning for more clarification and clearer clarification from the government.
"We've been trying to be as fluid with the situation as we can."
While hairdressers can remain open with strict social-distancing measures in place, national cabinet restrictions have led to the closure of beauty parlours, massage parlours and tanning salons.
Mr Whittle said there was a double standard that allowed for hairdressers to remain open, despite similar levels of contact with members of the public.
"There's a contradiction, especially because we're still so hands-on with clients," he said.
"We're taking the situation into our own hands and we've upped protocols for health and safety as much as possible."
Fellow Canberra salon owner Emmalene Port, who runs Eden Hair Energy in Dickson, said her business had already put detailed measures in place to meet the 30-minute limit before the requirement was relaxed on Thursday.
In an email to clients, Ms Port said those with appointments of more than 30 minutes, such as for tints and foils, should wait in their cars for the colour to process, before returning to the salon to rinse.
"We had to be creative in how we could offer those services," she said.
"For me, I do feel as though we can operate somewhat safely.
"Even with the relaxation of the restrictions, last week we were at 50 per cent of normal levels, this week we were at 30 per cent."
The Loft Manuka salon owner Alex Warburton also welcomed the move to relax restrictions.
"Probably 85 per cent of my work is chemical work, so the restrictions would mean saying goodbye to 85 per cent of work. That was a game-ender," he said.
"There was a big rush of people wanting to have their hair cut on Wednesday before the restrictions would have come in. It was our busiest day we've done for a while."
While some Canberra salons are relieved they're still able to open under the restrictions, the head of Australia's largest hairdressing salon franchise urged the government to undertake a complete closure.
Just Cuts chief executive Denis McFadden said the decision was in the interest of people's health.
"Without hairdressing being on the shutdown list, it is incredibly difficult for our franchise owners to take the heartbreaking but necessary steps to stand down workers so they can access available support," he said.
"Given the steps taken in the UK and New Zealand to close salons along with other non-essential businesses ... we simply cannot justify the health or financial risk to our franchise owners, stylists and clients."
Rivett resident Brooke Davies, who runs a hairdressing salon out of her home, said despite the relaxation of the restrictions she would temporarily close her salon to clients for at least a week.
Following the government's announcement of 30-minute limits, she rang all her existing clients to cancel appointments, only for the restrictions to be lifted hours later.
"More than anything, the situation has been just upsetting and there's so much uncertainty," she said.
"It's been very mentally draining for me and I don't know what to do at this point."
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