As COVID-19 case rates continue to decline and vaccine rates continue to increase, a Kenora salon owner has made the decision to defy public health orders and open her shop next week.

Kari Mounk, the owner of Halo Hair Studio, says she has no choice but to open.

"It comes down to my livelihood. I have nothing left," said Mounk in conversation with KenoraOnline earlier this week.

Mounk employs four other stylists, all of whom have spent nine of the last 15 months out of work.

"Bills keep coming [in], yet no money is coming in. Sadly, it's left me at the point [where] I have to open no matter what. Fine, or not, I can't afford, and neither can my girls, to stay [closed] any longer. It just won't work," said Mounk.

Mounk notes that Government help hasn't been enough to keep up with business expenses, let alone her personal expenses.

A date for the reopening hasn't been set, but Mounk says when the shop reopens strict COVID-19 prevention measures will be in place.

"Masks are mandatory, you have to sign in, you have to get temperature checked, you have to sanitize [your hands] when you walk in," noted Mounk.

She added that there will be barricades between the workstations, and only one client will be allowed in the building per stylist.

"I'm going to go above and beyond to make people feel safe and comfortable," stressed Mounk.

Mounk knows that her decision to reopen could lead to fines and public backlash.

"Getting a fine is the least of my worries right now. The fine will be substantially less than what I've lost [since the pandemic began]," said Mounk who emphasized that if she doesn't open she will lose everything.

Personal care services, like salons, can legally open during step two of the province's "roadmap to reopen," which is targetted to start on July 5, as long as 70 per cent of the population has one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 20 per cent of the population are fully immunized.