Barber Cody Nasby says he’s excited to get back to work June 12.

He is just one local business owner who’s ecstatic they’ve been included in Stage 2 of reopenings across the province.

Other allowances announced by the Ontario Government this week, and effective Friday, include: gatherings of 10 people, up from five; places of worship; outdoor dine-in services at restaurants and bars; hair and beauty salons and tattoo studios; tour and guide services, including brewery tours; beaches; camping and outdoor recreation.

The province also announced that staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening and some post-secondary education will reopen July 2.

Nasby was in his Traditional Barber Shop May 10 getting ready. He has masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. He said he’s been closed about three-and-a-half months so, “I am extremely happy we are back in the shop chopping mops.”

He added that due to COVID-19, he can only take clients by appointment and can only do hair-cutting, not facial hair. He told The Highlander bookings are coming in fast and furious and “it’s going to be madness.”

The government put into action its plan of a regional approach to Stage 2, including Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit communities, saying it’s based on lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals and progress made in testing.

“We are able to make this announcement today (May 8) because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” Premier Ford said. “Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet.”

Ford said the province will soon release more details on: summer camps, post-secondary education, training centres and public transit.

Rhubarb Restaurant and Boshkung Social co-owner Terri Mathews-Carl is relieved at the news. “We’re definitely excited to welcome back our staff, locals and cottagers,” she said, adding their phone had been ringing off the hook. They have set up their inside patio at the Carnarvon restaurant to seat 24 people, in two sittings. They plan to open Friday and Saturday for dine-in and takeout and delivery. They will see how it goes before committing to opening other days. The Social, meanwhile, will no longer have long, communal picnic tables, but individual tables to ensure people are six feet apart. The food truck is also reopening.

As for Nasby, who said he’s social by nature, he missed his clients – though he has run into regulars on the street who look like completely different people to him. He anticipates correcting a lot of bad haircuts rendered by girlfriends and wives, and boyfriends and husbands. Nasby said he was worried that barber shops wouldn’t be part of Stage 2 and that would have been trouble.

“If it went too much longer, I was going to start getting worried about my shop, and if I would be able to reopen.”

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