Toronto salons fight lockdown by showing how little they contributed to virus spread
It's been five days of the rigid Grey-level lockdown in Toronto and Peel, under which hair salons, bars and restaurants, non-essential retailers, gyms and other businesses have had to completely cease in-person operations.
The hospitality and beauty industries have been some of the most hard-hit during this year's comprehensive and economically devastating pandemic closures, and though they may not be as brash as now-notorious Adamson Barbecue owner Adam Skelly in their fight, hair salons in the two hotspot regions are indeed now protesting the restrictions on their businesses.
A clever social media campaign was started this week to demonstrate why personal care services should be allowed to remain open by utilizing the undeniable: the numbers.
The owners of Trichology Boutique, an uptown Toronto hair salon near Avenue and Lawrence, launched #ShowYourStatsTO, through which salons, barbershops, and other members of the trade are encouraged to share data about how many customers they've served vs. how many cases of COVID-19 they've had in their business, among other information.
A slew of independent hair salons and barbershops have jumped on board, including The Loft Toronto, which has multiple locations, along with Leaside's Floka Salon, the Entertainment District's Studio Fontanato, Leslieville's Lovoux, Davisville Village's The Manor Salon, and Scarborough's Komotria Hair Lounge.
Individual stylists from the above brands and others have also posted, such as Oggi Salon in Yorkville and Marigold + Aster Hair Studio in Brampton, while local entrepreneurs providing other personal care services, like lash technicians, have done the same.
Prominent members of the industry, such as account executives representing major professional hair product and tool brands, have also spoken out using the hashtag.
And, as was intended, the numbers shared have been drastically low, indicating that these spaces are safe as far as the health crisis is concerned and should perhaps be permitted to have their doors open to the public.
Trichology, for example, posted that it had seen absolutely no cases of COVID-19 despite being open for 21 weeks with 11 staff members and 1,624 clients over 1,942 visits earlier this year.
Countless other local establishments similarly had zero cases confirmed on their premises.
As one professional noted on Instagram, according to data from the federal government, personal care settings — that is, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and similar businesses — accounted for 34 outbreaks, 319 cases, and 0 deaths across the entire country, and only 5 outbreaks in the seven days leading up to Nov. 14.
A change.org petition titled "save the beauty industry in Ontario" was also launched this week, and has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures thus far.
"According to our research, 4 out of 5 salon and spa owners are female. About 1 in 5 workers in our industry are people from a racialized community. And we are hurting," organizers aptly point out.
"Without action, thousands more businesses in our industry will close forever. It’s not too late to take action — but we need action, now."
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