'We're broken, we're a broken industry:' Salon owners devastated by pandemic
It'll soon be back to business across Simcoe Muskoka as Ontario moves into Step 2 of its reopening plan on Tuesday, but it isn't business as usual for many.
"We're broken. We're a broken industry." Barrie salon owner Suzanne Martin says she and her husband had to dip into their RRSPs to survive the past year.
The pandemic has proven devastating for personal care businesses.
Martin says she lost hundreds of thousands of dollars over a year that saw lockdown after lockdown.
"We've worked two weeks this year, and last year we were closed for four months," the owner of Barrie's Three Small Rooms adds.
She says with a long list of clients ready to walk through her door, she's unsure how to manage, adding many of her staff left for other industries.
Meanwhile, retail businesses like Ecklund's Home Hardware have had to adjust and adapt.
"We were run off our feet," Bill Ecklund says. "We were never designed to do business this way."
Forced to shift to curbside pickup only, Ecklund says he's happy to be reopening the doors for inside shopping. "It took a lot of pressure off my staff."
Step 2 comes with capacity limits. Non-essential retailers will have a 25 per cent limit, while essential businesses are limited to 50 per cent.
Personal care services, such as hair salons, tattoo parlours and nail shops can open, but face masks must be worn at all times.
Complete details on what Step 2 means for residents and businesses across Simcoe Muskoka are available here.