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Fewer holiday parties mean a ripple effect for bars, salons

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One hair-dresser said she would normally feel like a zombie from being so busy

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The holiday party cheers are on hold.

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With far fewer bashes being thrown — for a second straight year — hairdresser Anastasia Kravtsova said it is not a normal December.

“The volume is way less,” she said from her salon in The Beaches neighbourhood. “It is more than last year but compared to the normal times, it is less.”

With the Omicron variant upending all kinds of plans, festive gatherings are taking a hit for a second straight year.

Public health officials are urging people to have a more muted end of the year and try to avoid gathering in large groups.

Kravtsova says the year is ending in a far better way than what she went through in 2020, but it is still not at peak.

“Normally, December for every hairdresser is the busiest month of the year,”  Kravtsova said. “This is where we are making the most money.”

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It is the same situation for bars.

Russ Piffer, co-owner of the Edmund Burke on the Danforth, said he does not usually get a giant bump of business from holiday parties.

Danforth Ave. bar owner Russell Piffer of the The Edmund Burke responds to the announcement made at Queens Park on Friday to open establishments to full capacity. QR Codes for vaccination are still mandated on Friday October 22, 2021.
Russell Piffer is co-owner of The Edmund Burke bar. JACK BOLAND/TORONTO SUN Photo by Jack Boland /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

“Christmas parties has never been a hugely significant thing for us,” said Piffer, who relies on loyal regulars.

But he is hoping the current surge of COVID-19 does not dampen a December tradition at his bar: A live band playing the entire soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas .

“We are really looking forward to doing that again this year. We have got two shows booked and sold out. If there are restrictions by next week, then that’s not going to happen. So that would be a huge disappointment.”

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After a brutal 21 months, bars like his are once again bracing for potential limits on how many patrons they can allowed in.

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“I feel like some kind of restrictions are looming,” Piffer said.

Since Omicron first flashed onto the global radar in late November, more public health units have been fretting about rising case counts.

The advice to avoid large gatherings is being pressed even more during what is usually a busy holiday party season.

The effect is cascading through everything from the taxis business, ride-sharing apps, catering services, restaurants, and the beauty industry.

“Sleep, eat, do hair, repeat” is how Kravtsova describes her usual work pace of this time of year. “That’s the slogan that every hairdresser has going into Christmas.”

But this year, it is much less so.

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