With only a few hours to go before the second lockdown in Toronto and the Peel Region, businesses are seeing an increase in people trying to access services before closing their doors.
Salons and other personal service businesses, such as nail spas and wax bars, report fully booked weekends. Beauty Bar Ten Spot, which has locations around the city, was fully booked for their weekend at 3pm on Friday.
Estelle Lombardi, manager of the store’s Queen Street West location, told Star that their senior staff is ready for the growth of clients. “Because we’ve already done this, this is a lot more noticeable than the first time we closed, so there are checklists in the closing space” at the end of the day on Sunday.
The manager of FuzzWax Bar says they are more than doubling their regular clients. Leon Donnelly, who manages the Fuz location on Queen Street East, said: “On a typical weekend we see 30 people a day. “I think today we are close to 70, the full weightlist and our sister position are also fully booked, as well as our corporate positions.”
Malls are also giving bracing to holiday shopper arrivals over the weekend, with many people looking at the packed parking spaces on Saturday. Retail managers at the Yorkdale Shopping Center and Sherway Gardens said most stores have the maximum capacity for shoppers and have a long lineup outside.
A spokesman for Oxford Properties, a management company that manages York Dale, Square One and Scarborough Town Centers, said in a statement that malls were extending operating hours this weekend to keep up with the increase in visitors.
Malls visitors can shop at Square One in Mississauga from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and at York Dale and Scarborough Town Center between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., and avoid peak hours from 1 to 4 p.m., the spokesman said.
Big box stores like Costco also saw long streaks on Saturday, though they remain open during lockdown.
The restaurants operating the patio service were busier than usual on Friday night. At East-End Pub The Stone Lion, manager Brian Short said there was an immediate increase in the number of people coming to eat.
“Today we put it on social media, it’s like New Years Eve 2020 for the patio and people are starting to come out,” Short said. “Looks like there’s support.”
He has a policy of allowing staff at his bar to stay home if they are not comfortable, with employees coming in because they do not know what lies ahead. “The first shutdown was a little less familiar, didn’t seem to be in any place.”
His biggest concern was the staff, “a kind of organ. They are now closed twice, they all have to pay rent,” Short said.
This weekend, the question of many businesses is what comes next.
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“What’s coming up next Monday is neuro-racking – what resources are going to be available to small businesses like us and our staff,” said Mariama Njoy, owner of Brampton Beauty Salon Dollhouse 905.
“Can we keep our doors open?”