With less than 48 hours to go before Toronto and Peel Region enter a second lockdown, businesses are seeing an increase in people trying to access services before they close their doors.
Salons and other personal service businesses, such as nail spas and wax bars, are reporting fully-booked weekends. On Friday, beauty bar the Ten Spot, which has locations around the city, was fully booked for their weekend within three hours.
Estelle Lombardi, a manager at the store’s Queen St. West location, told the Star that their senior staff are prepared for the upsurge in clients. “Since we’ve done this before, this is actually more notice than we had the first time that we closed, so we do have checklists in place for closing at the end of (the day) tomorrow.”
A manager for Fuzz Wax Bar said they’re seeing more than double their typical clients. “On a typical weekend we see about 30 people per day,” said Leanne Donnelly, who manages a Fuzz location on Queen St. East. “Today I think we have close to 70, a full waitlist and our sister location is also fully booked, as well as our corporate locations.”
Malls, too, are bracing for an influx of holiday shoppers.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Oxford Properties, the management company that operates Yorkdale, Square One and Scarborough Town Centre, said the malls are extending operating hours this weekend to manage an expected increase in visitors.
Visitors to the malls will be able to shop from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Square One, and between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. at Yorkdale and Scarborough Town Centre and avoid the peak hours of 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the spokesperson said.
Restaurants operating patio service also experienced a busier than usual rush Friday night. At east-end pub The Stone Lion, manager Brian Short said there was an immediate uptick in people coming to eat.
“Today we’ve put on social media, kind of like New Years Eve 2020 for the patio and people are starting to come out,” Short said. “It looks like the support is there.”
He said while his bar has a policy of allowing staff to stay home if they don’t feel comfortable, employees have been coming in because it’s unclear what lies ahead. “The first shut down was a little less unknown, it didn’t seem like anything was in place.”
His biggest concern is the staff, who are “kind of left in limbo. They’ve been shut down twice now, they all have to pay rent,” Short said.
After this weekend, the question for many businesses will be what comes next.
“I think what’s more nerve-racking is what’s to come after Monday — what resources are going to be available for small businesses like ourselves and our staff,” said Mariama Njai, owner of DollHouse905, a Brampton beauty salon.
“Are we going to be able to keep our doors open?”