‘We can do our job with zero contact’: Photographers not included in new health orders

WINNIPEG — With non-essential retail stores opening their doors Saturday, some professional photographers are questioning why they’re not included in the latest round of public health orders.

 “We’re able to do our job with zero contact,” said Winnipeg photographer Lauren Cox.

She said the issue stems from her job classification as a ‘personal service,’ a business category where some aren’t allowed to open under the health orders.

“We can shoot from ten feet away, we can take payment online, we deliver photos online. We’re having zero contact with people yet we’re still not allowed to work for some reason,” said Cox.

Laura Cox.

Photographer Laura Cox says she doesn’t understand why she has to stay closed, since she can do her job with zero contact.

She asked for clarification through the EngageMB government portal and received an emailed response on Friday.

“At this time, photographers are prohibited from providing in-person services at this time. This includes services provided in a studio setting and outdoors in public spaces,” reads the email.

“Decisions related to the restrictions in place and the rationale behind those decisions are determined by public health officials and cannot be answered by our team.”

The province’s response doesn’t satisfy Cox.

“It’s just really frustrating cause five people can meet outside, two people can go to your house, but one of those people can’t be a photographer that’s socially distanced.”

Cox said customers are also missing out, unable to capture milestone photos that are time sensitive like wedding and maternity pictures.

She said she has no choice but to cancel sessions and wait around for another three weeks.

“There seems to be no end in sight,” said Cox. “I feel like we’ve just fallen through the cracks time and time again.”

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