Ottawa salon owners concerned customers will cross river for haircuts

The Ontario Government has extended the Emergency Order in the province until June 30, keeping many businesses in Ottawa shut.

Business reopening is well underway in Quebec, and some Ottawa businesses are angry about possibly losing their livelihood to businesses in Gatineau.

“We were waiting for that explosion of business,” says hair-stylist and salon owner Ramsey Sayah. He’s afraid that he’ll miss out on the first initial rush of post-pandemic customers.

“Customers now have an option. Unfortunately no matter how loyal they are to us, they just need a hair cut.”

On Monday, hair salons in Quebec reopened, while salons in Ontario remain closed.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford explained why Ontario is extending the Emergency Order, “Our government extended Ontario’s State of Emergency; let me be clear, this does not mean that our reopening is on hold; we are working around the clock to move ahead with our economic reopening.”

As Ontario extends Emergency Orders until June 30, businesses and services, such as hair salons may have to wait to open.

Something, which Sayah says, he is ready to do, “We are ready for this, we’ve had plenty of time now for the salons to think about reopening and how we’re going to practice social distancing in our salons.”

He was forced to close his downtown location, and is hopeful to reopen his west Ottawa salon, Texture Hair Salon soon.

“It’s not just that the salon owners are losing their businesses, imagine all of the people that they employ - they have families that rely on that haircut, to eat.”

COVID-19 numbers are lower in part of eastern Ontario, when compared to the Greater Toronto Area; and, with customers having the option of travelling to Quebec, Sayah would like to see Ottawa treated differently. So-called regional opening is something the province is considering.

“Our health officials are working on the option of a regional model, because we need a plan that recognizes the reality on the ground in the different parts of our province,” explains Premier Ford.

Ford says he is looking at possibly easing restrictions to less-hit parts of the province, but no plan has been announced yet.