Provincial government changed rules Feb. 4
Mac Christie Flamborough Review Monday, February 8, 2021
While the stay-at-home order will continue in Hamilton until February 16, the Ontario government is allowing pet grooming businesses to open under specific conditions — and Waterdown dog groomers are rejoicing.
Stephen Warner, press secretary and issues manager for the Office of the Solicitor General, said in an email that as of Feb. 4 pet grooming businesses can open if they “are strictly necessary to prevent an animal from requiring foreseeable and reasonably imminent veterinary care,” or are providing services “that an animal owner has been required to obtain pursuant to an order issued under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act.”
Warner noted the businesses may only open if they provide services by appointment, permit only one appointment for one animal at a time and the service is provided through curbside pickup and drop-off of an animal.
For Waterdown’s Jessica Nova, who owns K905 Groomer, the announcement is good news for her business.
She said the situation prior to the Feb. 4 change was frustrating, because jurisdictions around Hamilton, including Mississauga, Burlington and Guelph, had paused enforcement on regulations that prevent dog groomers from opening for clients — which was drawing clients away from Novak’s business.
“I was getting really worried that I wouldn’t have a customer base to come back to when I was allowed to open,” Novak said, noting she was shut down since Dec. 21.
Novak said even though groomers have been allowed to open, different businesses are interpreting the rules differently, with some deciding to open for regular maintenance so vet visits aren’t required, while others only being open for emergencies.
Since the rule change, Novak said she has been inundated with calls from clients, but in her discussions with Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly’s office she was told to use her best judgment.
“I’m only doing the dogs I know didn’t do well after the last lockdown, that had skin problems or matting problems,” she explained. “I’m hoping by the time I get through those customers things will open up.”
Novak said both Skelly and Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge worked hard to level the playing field among different municipalities. She stressed that while she believes safety is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic, dogs need to be taken care of.
“Without proper care for an extended period of time, when they finally get groomed it can be a very painful process for them and that just isn’t fair to our pets who give us so much love,” she said. “For this reason, as groomers, I believe we have to fight for our pets, while being creative in finding ways to provide our ‘best friends’ the care they deserve without putting anyone at risk during these very challenging times.”
Meanwhile, Bailey Forgeron of Waterdown’s Underdog and Co., said being able to provide care for dogs in need is great.
“There are dogs that really do need to be groomed right now,” said Forgeron, who uses they/them pronouns. “It will be nice to have a little bit of income again, as well.”
Forgeron will only be open for dogs that have a veterinary letter indicating the pet is in imminent danger of health complications if not groomed or orders under the Animal Welfare Services Act, adding they have a great client base and were not worried about losing business to groomers that were open prior to the rule change.
“I’m happy I can get back to helping the dogs that really need it right now and hopefully the lockdown will have worked the way it was supposed to and we can all get back to normalcy soon.”