toronto haircut

People in Toronto travelling to other regions for haircuts despite pleas not to region-hop

It's been roughly three months since Toronto residents could legally go out and get a haircut in the city, and some people appear to be so fed up with waiting for salons to reopen that they're taking matters into their own hands, ignoring recommendations to avoid region-hopping at all costs and travelling to other parts of the province to access the service.

Region-hopping has been in an issue in Ontario throughout the pandemic thanks to Toronto's proximity to other GTA regions that have often been under more relaxed public health measures compared to Canada's largest city, and it appears this time around is no exception.

Several Toronto residents have taken to social media in recent days to unabashedly admit that they've traveled to regions that have already transitioned into the province's colour-coded framwork in order to get a haircut.

Many people report travelling to York Region this week, which only entered the red zone on Monday and where hair salons are now permitted to operate with restrictions in place. 

Others say they travelled to Oakville in Halton Region, which is also in the red zone, to access the same service in addition to visiting restaurants and bars.

Residents have also reported travelling to Durham Region for the same reason, a region that is also currently in the red zone of the province's framework. 

At the end of the first wave, as some GTA regions began to reopen their economies while Toronto remained in lockdown, many residents travelled outside the city to eat in restaurants, get haircuts, shop in malls and more. 

The same was true in December, right before the province-wide shutdown came into effect. At the time, data revealed that approximately 101,500 people travelled from Toronto, Peel and York to various shopping centres that were still operating in nearby jurisdictions.

Experts warned that the phenomenon would likely continue this time around, with some regions proactively and openly asking Toronto residents to refrain from travelling there.

The three regions that were first to see health and safety measures loosened earlier this month also tried their best to discourage visitors from other regions, with Hastings Prince Edward going as far as banning local businesses from accepting reservations from people who live in regions still subject to the stay-at-home order.

Mayor John Tory has also repeatedly pleaded with residents to avoid region-hopping and stay the course until Toronto is ready to reopen, adding that the practice should still be avoided even once lockdown restrictions are lifted in the city. 

"People are, in fact, starting to move around more, perhaps thinking, incorrectly, that improving case counts mean that is okay. Unfortunately, it is not okay," said Tory during the city's COVID-19 briefing Monday.

"The lockdown has been working to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in our community, but please, don't get complacent or give up on this work."

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