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Jul. 31, 2021 | Saturday
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As Ontario enters step two of reopening salons open their doors for customers
Adrianna Rankin enjoys getting her hair cut by Cathy Cabral at Hypnotic Hair Salon on the first day of step two of Ontario's reopening plan. (Evan Saunders)

Ontario officially moved into step two of the provincial reopening plan on Wednesday, June 30. With that reopening came the return of salons and barbershops. The nests can finally be managed by professionals.

“It feels really good. We’re all happy to be back,” Hypnotic Hair Salon manager Kristy Lewis told The Lake Report.

Salons have been closed since April 8, the start of the third lockdown order in Ontario.

Although it has only been a few hours since salons were allowed to reopen Lewis says business is back in full swing.

“It’s been a little crazy on the phones.”

Owner and sole hairdresser at Simba’s Salon, 31-year-old Stephen Cymba, has had a similar experience.

“I learned that I have a limit of 70 voicemails. So, that’s good,” the business owner said.

The lockdown forced him to let go of his employees. He is running the whole business himself.

On top of taking care of his client’s hair, Cymba is “the receptionist, I get to clean everything, I do all the orders and the laundry.”

That has not been a problem for him.

“It’s all good. I was doing it for other people, so why not do it for myself.”

But there is another responsibility that barber's have on their shoulders that any frequent customer understands.

“I’m a therapist as well,” Cymba said.

He said people have been venting to him even more than usual due to the stress that COVID-19 has created.

Cymba has been a cutting hair for a decade. He opened his own salon in Virgil two years ago and people have wasted no time in booking their appointments with the young owner since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

We’re booked “right into the rest of the month,” he said.

Prospective clients had best reach out to their favourite salon as soon as possible if they want a summer cut.

“Most of July we’re booked already,” Lewis said.

Adrianna Rankin was getting her hair cut at Hypnotic. She said it was nice to have her hair cut again, but said she is even more excited to get her eight-year-old son in for an appointment.

“I tried to cut my sons hair. It’s just not the same when mommy does it,” Rankin said.

The reopening caught some owners off guard. Many hair salons throughout town remained closed today. Bliss Aveda Salon will not be opening its doors until Monday, July 5, an employee said.

For Lewis, the early reopening was easy to handle. She had more difficulty with the prolonged lockdowns.

“Following the news every week and hearing how it’s changing every single week has been a little difficult. But we are thankful to be open,” she said.

“There are some places that have gone out of business because they just couldn’t handle the pandemic. We’re thankful we have our clientele, who have all been coming back.”

Cymba had a different, more personal and tragic experience with the most recent lockdown.

Stephen Cymba, owner of Simba's Salon. (Evan Saunders)

“It was bittersweet,” he said.

Three weeks ago, his mother passed from cancer. The lockdown enabled him to focus on spending time with her instead of running his business.

“A lot of people said I must be bored because the salon was closed but, it kind of worked out in a weird way. I was able to be with and help take care of her in the end.”

His business now being open has provided him with a way to stay close with his mother.

“It’s good now to work, to keep busy and to honour my mom. She loved this place. So, the best way for me to get back to myself is honour her and make her proud.”

The salon was open on Canada Day. 

Cymba said his customers were surprised he has not raised his prices due to the financial challenges multiple lockdowns presented.

“I’m not going to change my prices just because the economies dipped. I’ve put my heart and soul into this place. I can pay for the cleaning products, people don’t have to compensate me for that,” he said.

“People are pinching pennies right now. I’m not going to ask more from them.”

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