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COVID-19: Health unit closes Peterborough barbershop for remaining open during shutdown order

Health officials closed a Peterborough barbershop Wednesday evening for continuing to operate during Ontario’s provincial shutdown order.

According to Peterborough Public Health, health officials — with assistance from the Peterborough Police Service — closed Who’s Next Barbershop at 72 Hunter St. East to “safely close” the business that was continuing to operate despite the provincial closure order and after being served an order by the medical officer of health under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act last Friday.

Read more:
Peterborough barbershop served Section 22 order to close for defying shutdown order

“As soon as we became aware that the operator of ‘Who’s Next Barbershop’ was continuing to serve customers in defiance of the Section 22 order issued to him last Friday, I directed Peterborough Police to assist us in closing the business to prevent further risk to the public,” stated MOH Dr. Rosana Salvaterra on Thursday.

“We hope this sends a clear message to the community that at this critical time when everyone needs to follow the stay at home order to curb the threatening surge of cases facing our community, we require everyone’s cooperation with the public health measures that have been put into place.”

The Peterborough Police Service declined to comment, citing that the operation was spearheaded by the health unit and that police attended the scene to assist health officials.

Global News Peterborough reached out to owner Alex Masters for comment on Thursday. He declined an interview but said a statement would be released in the near future. He has publicly stated he intends to keep his barbershop open to  “continue fighting for our rights and the rights of others” and has encouraged customers to continue to book hair appointments.

On the business’s Facebook page, around 9:40 p.m. a post was made claiming Peterborough Public Health “broke into my barbershop” and seized his property illegally.”

The health unit notes customers who chose to receive services from the barbershop after it was ordered closed could also face fines.

Barbershops are personal service settings and were ordered closed by the Ontario government as part of the provincial emergency brake that came into effect on April 3.

Salvaterra says the health unit continues to monitor the situation and will “take the necessary actions under the HPPA, the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and the Reopening Ontario Act to ensure the operator complies with the provincial health protection measures.”

This could include fines of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Support grows for Masters’ cause, with Facebook groups such as No More Lockdowns Peterborough and with two GoFundMe pages which collectively have raised more than $6,200 to date. On Thursday morning, one of the pages received a $5,000 anonymous donation.

— More to come.

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