hair salon toronto

Here are the rules for hair salons and barber shops in Toronto's grey zone

Hair salons in Toronto, like many businesses, have been riding the rollercoaster of pandemic closures and reopenings, now having been completely shuttered in the city since all the way back in November.

As we finally start gradually reopening for the first time in 15 weeks under the grey zone today, a few things are changing, but unfortunately not much for any business that isn't a retail store.

Sadly for hair stylists and establishment owners, salons and barber shops are among the business groups that will remain shuttered for the time being, as all storefronts offering personal care services are in Grey-Lockdown.

But, the fact that the province has been moving some regions into new zones within just one week of being in another offers some hope that more things could potentially open up as soon as March 15 — though in the recent cases of regions quickly changing colours, it was to go from red to grey, then back to red again after the "emergency brake."

"Health indicators will generally be assessed based on the previous two weeks of information. However, movement to apply measures will be considered sooner than two weeks if there is a rapidly worsening trend," the province says in its colour-coded COVID-19 reopening framework document.

Despite the fact that the province's goal is to reeasses every two weeks, as we saw with Simcoe-Muskoka, it is indeed possible to move from grey to red in just one week if things like per cent positivity among residents tested, weekly incidence rate per 100,000 residents, and ICU capacity are kept under certain key thresholds.

In Red-Control, most personal care services, including salons and barber shops, can open so long as they screen customers for COVID-19, take their personal details for contact tracing, and have a safety plan in place.

Oxygen bars, steam rooms, sauntas, bath houses, sensory deprivation pods must remain closed, and businesses can only offer services that can be completed while patrons and workers are masked.

Salons closed on Nov. 23 when Toronto first went into grey — before the province's blanket shutdown of all regions —after being allowed to resume operations in June when Toronto entered Stage 2 of the old reopening system.

The industry fought back against the closure in the fall by showing how little their workplaces contributed to virus spread in the weeks that they were open, with most in Toronto reporting 0 cases of the virus whatsoever with firm health measures being exercised.

Since salons were totally booked up upon opening their doors once more after months of the first round of lockdown, we can expect that they will be rammed when they do finally get the green light to take clients again.

But, who knows how many region-hoppers have travelled to nearby red regions York and Durham to get these and other services, and how many have been getting "black market" haircuts in the meantime.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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