‘Underground economy’: Brampton mayor wants province to reopen personal care services by July 2

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown joins other mayors in the GTHA in calling on the Ford government to allow personal care services to reopen ahead of the currently scheduled July 2 reopening date.

Personal care services in Brampton have been closed for months and Brown says this has led to an unnecessary “underground economy”.

The Stage 2 reopening threshold that would allow personal care services such as hair salons and salons to resume accepting clients is 75% first dose coverage and 20% second dose coverage .

Brown said Brampton and the rest of Peel Region still have not reached the second dose threshold, but believes the industry is already providing these services unofficially and can safely reopen before the deadline of the July 2nd.

“You have to call a spade a spade. A lot of people on TV, their hair is long and it looks disheveled, but the reality is that there are haircuts out there. It’s in the yards, it’s in the garages. You have created an underground economy, ”said Brown during a Press conference on June 16.

“These places have been closed in Brampton since Nov. 23,” Brown said. “As the COVID-19 case is on the decline, I believe there is a path to reopen safely before July 2. Personal care services had strict infection protocols and other safety procedures in place before the pandemic. “

Brown added that he sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford and joined other mayors in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in a joint public statement on Monday, June 14 calling on the province of make an exception for the struggling sector.

“Over 200,000 Ontarians are employed in the beauty and personal care industry. It is also one of the most female-dominated industries in Canada (81 percent of businesses are owned / managed by women) and among the hardest hit by the pandemic. It is time to reopen this sector, ”Brown wrote in a tweet with his letter to the Prime Minister attached.

However, not everyone agrees with the idea. Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was in Brampton on Wednesday for an announcement and told reporters she didn’t feel comfortable reopening too quickly without the green light from health officials.

“I understand that (personal care companies are) frustrated. But what I firmly believe is that we have to listen to the scientific reports, and we have to listen to the experts at the scientific table as well as public health, ”she said.

“With all due respect, the mayor certainly has the right to plead this way. But I hope we also recognize that here in Peel we still have concerns about the spread of the Delta variant. Peel is still seen as a hot spot and we have to be really respectful of the devastation the Delta variant can create, ”she added.

While the overall COVID-19 cases are down substantially in Peel from the peak of Wave 3 just a few weeks ago, Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr.Lawrence Loh said Wednesday (June 16) the Delta variant is spreading to Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, and remains a concern without widespread coverage of the second dose of vaccine.

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Shawn G. Randall