'We're ready to go': Hair salons, tattoo shops, malls thrilled to reopen on Monday

Business owners in Waterloo Region say they're ecstatic to reopen come Monday when the area moves in to Step 2 after being closed for more than three months.

"Great news, fantastic," said Mark Muia, co-owner of Luxe Appeal Salon. "We're excited to be open again."

Places like hair and nail salons and tattoo parlours can reopen their doors at 25 per cent capacity come Monday. Masks are required at all times.

"It's definitely been a long wait that's been mentally and obviously financially stressful,” said Tristan Everett, co-owner of Iron Horse Tattoo. "It's been a pretty substantial loss for us."

Personal care services, like tattoo shops, have only been open for six weeks this year.

In other changes, malls in the region can also reopen and patios can now seat tables of six.

Outdoor social gatherings increase to 25 people, and five people can gather indoors.

"This is a great day for all of our personal care, like our hair, our nails, our beauty salons, our tattoo shops, and for businesses that are actually inside Waterloo town square that didn't have outdoor access," said Tracy Van Kalsbeek, executive director of the Uptown Waterloo BIA.

Van Kalsbeek is hoping Waterloo Region residents support local, adding the road to economic recovery will be a long one.

At Luxe Appeal Salon, stylists are preparing for a busy summer.

"We're probably going to have to open every day and not have any days off, extended hours," Muia said. "The capacity issue is going to be an issue, because 25 per cent is a low amount, but we'll work it out."

Some businesses owners said phones were ringing off the hook once Region of Waterloo officials made the Step 2 announcement Thursday morning.

"Everybody is excited to get back to work," said Andrew Bojdani, co-owner of Luxe Nail Bar. "A lot of our clients are reaching out to us saying, 'hey, can we please get in,' so we're ready to go."

For some Waterloo Region residents, the move to Step 2 can't come soon enough, while others are still feeling hesitant.

"I'm thinking we should wait a little longer, but that's a moot point now it looks like," one person said.

"I'm really excited for things to open up," another resident said. "I need a haircut, I miss the haircut, I miss my barber. So yeah, I'm really excited."

A full list of what reopens in Step 2 is available here.