BARRIE, ONT. -- Hair salon owners hope to push the Ford government to allow them to welcome back customers earlier than planned under its three-step roadmap with a unique campaign sought to draw attention.

Several salon owners are decorating the exterior of their businesses and homes with red balloons to garner support for the struggling industry.

In-person salon services have been off-limits for much of the past year because of COVID-19 restrictions, and on-again-off-again lockdowns impacting business.

"It's more disheartening knowing that we're put in stage two and not stage one," said Green. "Considering we've been open six weeks this year, [and] we're going into almost our sixth month.  That's a lot."

In Ontario, personal care services must remain closed until step two of the province's reopening plan, when 70 percent of adults have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

But that's not good enough for several salon owners who have been forced to keep their doors shut.

"We've had 5,000 appointments through our doors - I have 13 employees - not one case. Not one trace," said Jacqui Green, owner of Status Salon in Midhurst.

Green offers curbside pickup for retail sales but said she could welcome customers inside if the province would allow it. She put red balloons outside her salon as a symbol that she could operate safely.

Green said she followed all the protocols during the short time she was open to customers and proved it was safe. "That's the whole point of this. There are restrictions, and we have followed them 100 per cent," she added.

In Barrie, Kendra Maseko is renovating her yet-to-be-opened Motive Hair Salon and is annoyed she can't welcome customers inside. "It's just frustrating to be paying for a business and the start-up during a pandemic where you're not able to be open at all."

Maseko also pinned red balloons outside her salon to bring attention to the sector that remains in a holding pattern until July at the earliest.

She encourages residents to show their support. "You can support the beauty industry by going online and supporting with the #FordFailsBeauty."