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How the failed lockdown system imposed has left the personal service sector in the dust.

How the failed lockdown system imposed has left the personal service sector in the dust.

Personal service industry sufferings

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~  March 3, 2021  (LSN)  It has almost been a year since covid-19 has turned the world upside down, especially for those who make their living in the personal service industry. Salons, spas, tattoo parlours, gyms, fitness centres, photographers, and restaurants have been locked down time after time with little to zero assistance from the government imposing the restrictions on our industry.

The toll these lockdowns have put on us is huge. Many of those in our industry suffer from anxiety and depression from the lack of support and constant uncertainty we face. We’ve lost the only way we know to provide for our futures, families and community. We’re social and nurturing by nature, it’s the reason many of us chose the career path we did and we are forced to isolate ourselves from everything we know, with no real answers for when we will also be important enough to do what we love in as safe of a way as we can. The constant isolation we’re forced into as well as the choices our government makes to keep us at the bottom of the list of importance does massive damage to our moral and overall sense of self worth. I can personally say I’ve never felt so worthless and unimportant to my country as I do now, all because it seems as though our officials believe that to be true.

We’ve tried countless times to ask for the opportunity for an explanation from our health officials and government to help us understand why our specific type of industry has become the root of the COVID-19 problem in terms of their beliefs and research with ZERO response back. The personal service industry is regulated by our local health unit, so I would think that because we already have followed such strict safety and cleanliness protocols (which we have improved upon even more so now with additional recommendations by health officials to combat covid-19 even more) that we would be the front runners to continue our work over those who’ve never had a health official set foot in their establishment.

I think I can speak for the many and say we agree that we have to do what we have to do to keep our community we care so deeply about safe. But, in saying that it’s maddening and frustrating and downright discrimination for our government who should be the ones to have our backs, to constantly be the ones forcing us closer and closer to bankruptcy and mental anguish while the rest of the economy continues to move forward with little restrictions on their livelihood. This in turn will only push our industry to the point of no return not just now but for years to come.

The impact it will have on customers returning is massive, many are misinformed about us given that time and time again we’re the first ones restricted so they won’t come back. Not only will it affect our ability to make an income but it will affect the way the new generations look at our line of work. For years we have clawed our way to earning respect and to prove we are a real type of career, not just something a college drop out would do as a back up plan as so many people have assumed about our industries in the past. Our youth will think twice before entering the personal service sector and will choose an “essential” job over this career without hesitation, further adding to the struggle we will face with expanding to meet the needs and changes of the future.

All these lockdowns have done is make a mockery of personal services and disrespect and take in vain the struggles of those who have put themselves on the frontline. Countless hospital staff have spoken to us about the way they feel regarding the choices our government has made. They agree that of all industries ours is the one they feel safest in, not the big box store that can hold hundreds of patrons who may or may not be following the protocols in place frequent. They are in awe about how our local health minister turned away help and now the very nurses and hospital staff who have sacrificed more than we will ever know are literally being worked to the point of sheer exhaustion. With no new graduates to alleviate the burden they’ve placed on their shoulders they have worked tirelessly to keep our hospitals going and are overloaded more than ever because of the lack of thought the government has put into how they frame their regulations and why they make specific decisions. Clearly nothing they’ve decided has helped us and especially our frontline in anyway shape or form over the past year, otherwise we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

During the second lockdown (beginning December 26th and ending February 16th) we had 573 positive recorded cases of COVID-19 in our region. All of which happened while our doors were forced shut by our government. I’d like to understand why that is not proof enough that clearly the personal service sector is not to blame for the current situation we are in and why we are the ones being forced to give up our livelihood and source of income time and time again? Especially after this third lockdown has been imposed and every single industry can continue to operate at 25% capacity while yet again our doors remained locked to the public. We’d like to understand how allowing more industry to work while keeping us barred will alleviate the strain on our health system and magically reduce our numbers. We’d like to know how they came to these conclusions and why they’ve refused to speak to us over and over again.

All we can do at the end of the day is to hope that eventually we will have a business to go back to. For many unfortunately this will be the nail in the coffin. Retirement savings will have been drained, homes will be lost, and businesses will permanently close their doors. We are proud to say we have supported each other immensely during these trying times, all we are asking for is that same support as many of us face the very real possibility of losing everything.

By Tony Muia 

Submitted photo 

#LSN_TBay #LSN_Health 

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