Personal care service workers itch for businesses to reopen

Published On March 24, 2021 | By Victoria Meyer | Business, COVID-19, News

Ontario has been reopening the province slowly, but Toronto and Peel remain in the grey zone, barring any personal services from opening.

The government announced March 5 that some regions will be moving out of lockdown and into the grey zone, which means that storefronts can open with 25 per cent capacity.

Alex Lowpes Cutting a Clients Hair
Alex Lowpes, a hairdresser whose salon is affected by the COVID-19 closures in Peel Region, cutting a client’s hair before the pandemic. Photo credit: alexandraxhair/Instagram

Neighbouring regions, including York and Halton, moved up to the red zone which allowed for indoor dining with restrictions, and personal care services to resume operations.

Although lifting the province-wide lockdown was beneficial for many small businesses in Toronto and Peel, personal care service businesses including hair and nail salons, have been left out.

Business owners and employees of these services feel as if they have been forgotten since they have remained closed since November 2020.

Alex Lowpes, a senior hairstylist in the Peel, expressed her concerns on her Instagram, apologizing to her clients when news released that the hair salons within the grey zone will not be opening in the next couple of weeks.

“We are constantly awaiting any news from the government about when we will be opening, but sadly until then everyone please remain safe,” Lowpes said on her Instagram.

She also stated how deeply neglected she feels knowing that hair salons in neighbouring regions have been operating for over a month now, while Peel remains closed.

“We’ve operated for practically four months of the entire year of 2020 and my salon had no breakouts and strictly followed the rules and restrictions the government has put in place for us,” Lowpes said.

While defending her salon and co-workers, she said she speaks for all salon owners and employees stuck in grey zones.

Nail technicians have been affected just as hairdressers but they have found ways to provide for their clients and make a slightly lesser income by creating press-on nails made to order.

White Press on Nails
Abigail Panilan-Yan’s made-to-order press on nails which she creates custom for clients. Photo credit: _nails.by.abi/Instagram

Abigail Panilan-Yan, a home-based nail technician in Brampton, has been creating press-on nails for her clients since the second provincial lockdown began in November last year.

Panilan-Yan markets her press-on nails through her Instagram site which has more than 1,800 followers, and her newly launched website.

“With Peel and Toronto in lockdown, I will have to make some changes. I still want to give [my service] to my clients, so that’s why I’m offering customized press-on nails,” she said.

Peel’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, said in a statement the reason personal care services remain closed is because of the inability to adhere to social distancing during the service.

“Given the nature of the service provided, with a recognition that precautions cannot be consistently maintained and are not always foolproof, many jurisdictions have targeted these settings for closures,” Loh said.

Peel and Toronto are the most vulnerable regions at the moment, and Loh said there is a need for more vaccinations before businesses can be allowed to open.

The province made the allowance for outdoor dining at 25 per cent in the grey zone on March 19, but personal care services will remain closed until further announcements.

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