Toronto’s personal care businesses may not be able to open after all

Mar 29 2021, 12:06 pm

Hair salons and other personal care businesses in Ontario’s Grey-Lockdown zones may not reopen on April 12 as planned if COVID-19 infection indicators continue getting worse, Toronto Mayor John Tory said Monday.

He expects the province to watch COVID-19 data and make a decision closer to the day.

“That day is a target, if it were, that businesses might open,” he said. “It’s always been the case that date is subject to … what is going on on the healthcare front.”

And that front is worrisome right now. Ontario’s daily COVID-19 cases have stayed well above 2,000 for five days now, and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is hearing troubling reports of young people being admitted straight to the ICU in Toronto’s hospitals.

“The data continue to paint a picture of worsening resurgence and escalating cases,” she said.

Toronto saw 670 new infections in the last 24 hours, and about 35% were in people between the ages of 20 and 39.

De Villa urged Torontonians not to gather and to wait for their vaccine appointment as Easter, Passover, and Ramadan approach this month.

“Unfortunately our track record around holidays isn’t very good,” she said. “There is no reason to believe history won’t repeat itself. We have every reason to believe it could be worse given transmissibility of the variants of concern.”

The provincial government announced on Friday that personal care businesses including salons, barber shops, and tattoo shops could welcome customers again starting April 12 even in Grey-Lockdown zones.

Outdoor fitness and patio dining were also given the green light to go ahead in lockdown zones this month.

But that gradual reopening could halt if infections continue to rise.

“The numbers are not getting better. They’re getting worse,” Tory said.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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