Bookings for haircuts in Toronto, Peel Region could be available within ‘weeks’

Click to play video: 'As Toronto and Peel Region salons wait for go-ahead, some work despite rules' As Toronto and Peel Region salons wait for go-ahead, some work despite rules
WATCH ABOVE: Hair stylists can’t open legally in Toronto and Peel Region yet, though the provincial health minister says that will happen in the next few weeks. As Sean O’Shea reports, many stylists and barbers are offering their services despite the law – Mar 22, 2021

Want a haircut in Toronto or Peel Region anytime soon? It’s coming, but not quite yet.

“I have been waiting for that a long time myself,” said Ontario health minister Christine Elliott on Monday.

“Please be patient. In another few weeks, you will be able to get your haircut.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Monday he’s looking forward to the day when he can get a haircut in Toronto safely.

“Look at me. I’d go to the dog clippers right now,” Ford told a press conference.

“Pull up and get my hair cut … I’ve got more gel on here than you shake a stick at.”

A day later, Ford said during a COVID-19-related announcement that the matter is set to be debated by the cabinet on Wednesday. However, he urged people to remain vigilant amid concerns about spreading COVID-19 variants of concern.

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READ MORE: Toronto won’t rule out outdoor haircuts, but some salons say it would be difficult

Months into the pandemic, many stylists and barbers — prevented from opening their doors legally to customers — are openly advertising private hair services on sites like Kijiji.

A quick review of providers turned up a slew of service providers after keying in the search term “haircut.”

One operator advertising mobile services in Toronto and Peel Region picked up the telephone on the first ring.

“Oh yeah, I can come to you — 29 bucks,” the man said.

Read more: Restaurants in Ontario regions with grey lockdown COVID-19 restrictions to be allowed outdoor dining

Asked where he would cut hair, the barber offered “in a garage, the kitchen, a bathroom.” When pressed whether there was any risk to him or the client by circumventing the current lockdown laws, the man ended the conversation.

“Uh, we can talk another time,” he said before hanging up.

Another provider, who asked to communicate by text only, answered the telephone when called anyway. He offered appointments in Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto at the customer’s convenience. When asked if he or the customer would “get in trouble doing this,” the stylist laughed.

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“No, it’s OK, many people are working like this and they (the authorities) know it for sure.”

Read more: Here’s who’s eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in 2nd phase of Ontario’s plan

Providers who can’t open their businesses because of lockdown rules have been offering private services to clients for months, but in recent weeks many have become more open about advertising their services and unafraid of any consequences like ticketing.

Toronto enforcement officers will investigate claims where businesses are open in contravention of current laws, but they rely on complaints.

“I don’t think there’s trouble, only if you call somebody you can get in trouble,” said one stylist.

Stylists like Miranda Furtado, owner of Love’s in the Hair salon, said she’s frustrated by lockdown rules that prevent her from opening at least to a few clients each day.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases, 9 deaths

“Being closed eight of the last 12 months is financially a burden,” she told Global News.

Furtado said she is equipped to open safely and legally when given the go-ahead, which she hopes is soon.

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As for the suggestion that salons be permitted to cut hair outdoors in the meantime, she said it’s not feasible because of the weather. Furtado said it would inevitably lead to frequent cancellations.

“Sorry, ma’am, I have to cut your appointment because it’s windy or raining,” she said.

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