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Toronto hairstylist launches petition, calls for Ontario to reopen salons, barber shops

Coronavirus: Campaign seeks to reopen Ontario hair salons and barber shops
WATCH: Many salons and barbers want to reopen but can't because of COVID-19. Now there is a campaign to get them back in business. Albert Delitala reports.

A long-time Toronto hairstylist has launched an online petition calling on the Ontario government to reopen hair salons and barber shops, months after closing amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Norm Wright, who has spent most of his three-decade career at Taz Hair Co. in the Yorkville neighbourhood, opened a petition on Change.org this week to voice his frustration about remaining shut down.

As of Thursday night, it had nearly 10,000 signatures.

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Ontario is the last remaining province without an announced opening date for the industry, Wright said. With new health and safety measures already in place at his salon and others in the hair industry, he insists they are ready to reopen now,

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“We are taking steps that businesses that have been allowed to be open have not [taken] and we don’t feel that we are being taken seriously,” he said.

“If these family-owned businesses aren’t being taken seriously for much longer, they’re going to close.”

Donna Dolphy, who owns a salon in Toronto, told Global News she is worried that if shops like hers remain closed much longer, customers will turn to the underground market.

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“Where are they going to go? Nobody wants to look like a sheep dog for very long,” she said.

“They’re going to want to have service done. And if this continues we may not have clients come back in our chair.”

READ MORE: Too fast, too soon? How we’ll know whether Ontario reopened at the right time

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New measures at many barber shops and hair salons include taking clients’ temperature at the door, fewer work stations, no blow-drying and removing items like magazines, Wright explained.

“If this continues on the velocity it’s continuing on while other businesses that aren’t taking the same precautions are allowed to reopen, hair and beauty in Ontario will be decimated,” he said.