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Businesses seeing waves of shoppers, appointments ahead of second lockdown in Toronto and Peel

Businesses seeing waves of shoppers, appointments ahead of second lockdown in Toronto and Peel
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With just 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. Beauty bar the Ten Spot, which has locations around the city, was fully booked for their weekend within three hours on Friday.

Estelle Lombardi, a manager at the store’s Queen Street West location, told the Star 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 on Sunday.

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 Street 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, were bracing for an influx of holiday shoppers on the weekend, with many seeing packed parking lots on Saturday. Retail managers at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Sherway Gardens said most stores were at maximum capacity for shoppers inside and had long line-ups outside.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Oxford Properties, the management company that operates Yorkdale, Square One and Scarborough Town Centre, said the malls were 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 in Mississauga, 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.

Big box stores like Costco also saw long lines on Saturday, although they’ll remain open during the lockdown.

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 shutdown 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.
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