While many business owners have been vocal and outspoken against the recent move from red to grey-zone restrictions for Simcoe-Muskoka, one local hairstylist is putting her words to action.
Beauty and Babes hair academy owner Melissa Ferguson has been posting on social media about her opposition to the grey-zone designation, which came into effect Monday morning.
On Monday, just before 2 p.m., Ferguson and two friends went to the south-end Barrie Walmart and met in the hair products aisle.
As one friend filmed, Ferguson began cutting the hair of her other friend, as she looked to prove a point about how little protection is being given in big box stores.
“My point was to show that the big box stores have no idea what is going on compared to what businesses like mine are doing to prevent transmission,” Ferguson said. “You can see in the video there are employees walking by with carts who do nothing to stop us. Every aisle has a camera, no one comes to us to tell us to move on. But I have to shut my doors?”
Ferguson said when she operates her salon, there are extensive protocols followed. Staff wear goggles, masks and gloves; client areas are disinfected anytime they move from an area to another.
“When I was done cutting my friend’s hair, we cleaned it up and disinfected the floor. We were rushing because we didn’t want to get kicked out, but honestly we probably could have taken our time,” said Ferguson.
On Friday, the province announced it was moving Simcoe-Muskoka from red to grey, which meant invoking more restrictions, such as eliminating in-establishment dining at restaurants and closing personal care shops (hair salons, gyms).
A petition started Friday has gained more than 21,000 signatures with hopes of having the provincial government change the grey-zone designation for Simcoe-Muskoka.
Ferguson noted in the video she was not being paid for the haircut, which lasted one minute, and asked those watching to “keep fighting.”
“I want them to stop this semi-lockdown. It's not even a real lockdown. It's just hurting some businesses and mainly the ones that have always treated cleaning very seriously,” she said. “This whole thing is completely unfair and it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Ferguson said she has not had any positive cases related to her shop, while the two Barrie Walmart locations have had 18 from Jan. 16 to March 1.