With just a few hours to go before Toronto and the Peel region enter a second block, companies are seeing an increase in the number of people trying to access services before they close their doors.
Salons and other personal service businesses, like nail spas and wax bars, report crowded weekends. Beauty Bar the Ten Spot, which has branches in the city, was packed for the weekend at three o’clock on Friday.
Estelle Lombardi, manager of the Queen Street West store, told Star that her senior team is prepared for the increase in customers. “As we’ve done this before, it’s actually more notorious than the first time we closed, so we have checklists for closing” at the end of Sunday.
A manager at Fuzz Wax Bar said they are seeing more than double their typical customers. “On a normal weekend, we see about 30 people a day,” said Leanne Donnelly, who runs a Fuzz location on Queen Street East. “Today I think we have about 70, a complete waiting list and our sister location is also full, as are our corporate units.”
Malls were also gearing up for a flow of shoppers over the weekend, with many seeing crowded parking lots on Saturday. The retail managers at Yorkdale Shopping Center and Sherway Gardens said that most stores had maximum capacity for customers inside and had long lines outside.
In a statement, a spokesman for Oxford Properties, a manager who operates Yorkdale, Square One and Scarborough Town Center, said the malls were extending opening hours this weekend to manage an expected increase in visitors.
Mall visitors will be able to shop from 10 am to 9 pm at Square One in Mississauga, and from 11 am to 9 pm in Yorkdale and Scarborough Town Center and avoid peak hours from 1 pm to 4 pm, the spokesman said.
Big stores like Costco also saw long lines on Saturday, although they remain open during the blockade.
Restaurants that operate with patio service also had more intense movement than usual on Friday night. At The Stone Lion pub, businessman Brian Short said there was an immediate increase in the number of people who came to eat.
“Today we put on social media, a kind of New Year’s Eve 2020 for the patio and people are starting to show up,” said Short. “It looks like the support is there.”
He said that although his bar has a policy of allowing employees to stay home if they don’t feel comfortable, employees have been coming because it is unclear what is to come. “The first stoppage was a little less unknown, it seemed that there was nothing in place.”
His biggest concern is the employees, who “kind of stayed in limbo. They have already been closed twice, everyone has to pay rent, ”said Short.
After this weekend, the question for many companies will be what comes next.
“I think what is most desperate is what will come after Monday – what resources will be available for small businesses like us and our team,” said Mariama Njai, owner of DollHouse905, a Brampton salon.
“Will we be able to keep our doors open?”