The main strip of downtown Brampton has been quiet for most of this year on its busiest days. The original COVID-19 lockdown seems to have permanently affected how and whether any of the small businesses on Main and Queen streets do business.
The scene was no different Friday afternoon before an announcement by Premier Doug Ford confirming Brampton small business owners’ worst fears: a 28-day, COVID-19-related lockdown.
For Rob Rutledge, owner of the long-running Al’s Barbershop, it’s hard news to swallow. He said his shop is still recovering from the last lockdown.
“I’m running at 10, 15 per cent,” he told Global News.
Read more: Here’s what you can and can’t do in Toronto, Peel Region during coronavirus lockdown stage
Rutledge said he has fought to avoid laying off a single staff member and has been following every prescribed safety measure.
He said he has seen a big dip in customers who have either been too scared to come get their hair cut since he reopened, or simply haven’t needed to because they’re constantly working from home.
Thursday was another slow day.
“Between five guys, we did 21 haircuts … I can’t even keep the lights on with that,” he said.
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Speaking with Global News on Friday, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown characterized the forced closure of small businesses as “tinkering around the edges.”…