City Cutz Hair Salon owner Angela Lewis has been charged with failing to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act. If convicted, Lewis will face fines up to $30,000.
Lewis elected to keep her locally owned hair salon open for three business days after all personal care services were mandated to close their doors for a 28-day shutdown that began on April 3.
“I think this is ridiculous,” Lewis said of the charges. “It’s three months later, and I don’t think this is warranted at all.”
Lewis will appear in court, virtually, on July 22. She plans on pleading not guilty.
“I don’t know why they are pursuing this considering I wasn’t the only one open. There were other places that had to be open, or they just weren’t going to make it. But they had newspaper covering their windows so no one could see in,” she explained.
“My business was just blatantly open, that’s the only difference.”
Lewis says if she is found guilty, she won’t be able to pay any fines.
“They take my money away from me and then they expect me to pay fines. I don’t know where this is coming from, I’m an outstanding citizen of this community who just wanted things to be fair,” she said.
“What more do they want from me? They took away my livelihood for eight months.”
Lewis says if she is forced to pay the hefty fines, it could put City Cutz out of business.
“I’m expected to hire a lawyer with no money and take the court days off from my other job,” she said.
“I’ve done nothing wrong here. All I did was stand up for my little business that I’ve been running for nearly 20 years. I pay my taxes, I do everything right in life, but Doug Ford can’t keep singling people out.”
Lewis says she kept her business open for three days against provincial orders because the shutdown orders were 'unfair'. She eventually closed her doors after a stay-at-home order was put into place closing all non-essential businesses.
“Doug Ford didn’t know what to do, so he just said we will shut down things all while people were still getting their teeth cleaned. There is nothing more intimate than having someone’s fingers in your mouth, but yet we couldn’t cut hair,” Lewis said.
Lewis is hopeful the community will have her back.
“Speak up, if you want to support me. I would beg you to do so,” she said.
“On the day City of Orillia bylaw (official) came by the shop they threatened me with a $10,000 fine for each day I remained open. If it’s not me today, who will it be tomorrow?”