GTHA mayors are calling on the provincial government to consider reopening personal services, including hair salons, nail salons, and barbershops, ahead of July 2.
In a press release, mayors and chairs from across the region encouraged all residents to get their first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as vaccination rates are “crucial to move forward” with the reopening.
In order to head into Stage 2, the province requires that 70% of Ontarians receive their first dose and 20% receive their second.
In consultation with public health officials, mayors are asking the province to consider opening personal service settings earlier than July 2. This includes hair salons, tattoo parlours, indoor gyms, and more.
“Given the fact that the COVID case picture has improved dramatically, lockdowns across the province have led to an underground market when it comes to personal care services, and you have to call a spade a spade,” Mayor Patrick Brown said in a press conference Wednesday.
“The reality is there are haircuts happening out there. It’s in backyards. It’s in garages. You’ve created an underground economy, and given the COVID case declines, I believe there is a pathway to safely reopen in advance of July 2.”
Brown also mentioned the motion York Region passed last week, calling for an earlier reopening of personal care services as part of Stage 1.
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In a press release, York Region officials called on the province to consider allowing personal services businesses, including gyms, to reopen as of 12:01 am on Friday, June 18, with capacities set to 10.
“Vaccination efforts are moving ahead swiftly, and we continue to make excellent progress with 76% of York Region adults over the age of 18 having received their first COVID-19 vaccine,” Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and CEO, said in a release.
However, the mayors note that the Delta variant is a real threat to the current progress and encourage residents to get their second dose as soon as possible.
On Tuesday, Ontario reported 296 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day total reported since September.