Defy grey-zone lockdown or go bankrupt: Barrie salon owner makes his decision

Christian Linkert says he has spent his last penny

Christian Linkert doesn’t want anyone to think he’s a rebel.

Linkert, who owns two tanning salons (The Sun Emporium) in Barrie, will be open for business on Monday despite the grey-lockdown rules that come into effect in Simcoe Muskoka requiring salons, barbershops, gyms and yoga studios to close.

“I’ve decided that if you can cram 400 people into a Walmart with no sort of screening and no precautions, then my business is perfectly safe and fine to be open,” Linkert explained.

He said the only other option is bankruptcy.

“There’s no question about it. I am at my last straw and I have spent my last penny,” Linkert said. “I simply need to be able to stay open and take these fines if they come my way.”

He said intense sanitization at his salons was the name of the game long before COVID. Linkert said everything that is touched gets cleaned including door handles, stools, tanning beds, debit machines and the products.

Since COVID-19, Linkert doesn’t allow people to simply drop-in to his salons. Customers are required to text and book an appointment.

“If you don’t receive a text then you can’t come through the door,” he said.

Linkert has 12 employees, and while they have come to him with their concerns about fines, he said every single one of them understands the fight that they’re in to keep the business going.

Linkert has alerted other tanning salons that he will be open Monday and he has encouraged them to do the same.

He said his decision to defy the grey-zone lockdown has nothing to do with being anti-mask or being anti-government.

“I am not a COVID denier. I am just simply a business owner who has been pushed to the point and has had his hand forced. I have to stay open in order to ensure my survival both from a business point and a personal point of view.”