By ALAN SHACKLETON
The customers were in chairs, the scissors were clicking and the hair was flying at Hair Dynamix on Queen Street East in the Beach this morning.
After more than seven months of being closed due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions, hair salons were back in business as of June 30 as part of Ontario’s move into Step 2 of the pandemic reopening protocol.
Owners Carm and Joe Rizza told Beach Metro News they were thrilled to have their salon’s customers and staff back.
“I feel like it’s the first day of school and we will be able to see all our friends again,” said Joe as he cut 10-year-old Owen’s hair while mom Margaret looked on.
In business in the Beach for 23 years, Joe said the customers and staff are like a family.
For Owen, who had a pretty impressive mop of hair after not getting it cut in more than seven months, it will be a chance to see again and keep his head cool in the hot weather. His feelings, however, were a bit hard to decipher through all the hair and his facemask.
Joe said the long closure put in place by the province on personal-service businesses such as hair salons and barbershops was tough on everyone in the industry and the people who depended on them.
“We’ve been closed since last November and I feel we were picked on. We were doing everything required of us and following all the rules,” he said of businesses such as Hair Dynamix.
In late November of 2020, the province ordered personal service businesses closed for a second time in the pandemic due to growing case numbers of COVID-19 at the time. It was only as of this morning, that they could reopen.
The province’s Step 2 rules for personal service businesses like barbershops and hair salons is that they can open to 25 per cent capacity and masks must be worn at all times.
“We’re happy now,” said Joe.
Carmen added that it was tough times throughout the end of 2020 and the first six months of this year for those owning and working in businesses such as hair salons.
“It was incredibly tough, and so disheartening and discouraging,” she said. “But now we are so happy to be back.”
Other loosenings of COVID-19 restrictions that went into effect today with the Step 2 rules in Ontario include changes to the number of people allowed to gather outdoors (25) and indoors (five).
Also, essential retail stores can open to 50 per cent capacity, non-essential stores can open to 25 per cent capacity, and stores in shopping malls can open.
Outdoor dining can now expand to six people per table, with exceptions made for large families/households. Libraries can open to 25 per cent capacity, and religious services and ceremonies such as weddings and funerals can take place at 25 per cent capacity.
For more on the province’s Step 2 protocols, please see https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario