WINDSOR, ONT. -- A 20-year dream for two best friends to own and operate a beauty salon is unraveling before their very eyes thanks to COVID-19.

Meghan Handsor and Christina Ricci opened Bebe Hair and CO. six months ago.

“We invested all our savings and we made this place our dream,” says Handsor.

When the pandemic hit, like other salons, the owners were forced to shut their doors under provincial public health orders. A GoFundMe page has been launched to help the women.

“We knew we could sustain ourselves for a couple months, but we know that going on month three now, things are getting tough,” says Handsor.

All they see now are “root pics and home cuts” and the worry about how they’ll feed their children.

“We’ve cried, we’ve laughed, we’ve danced,” says Handsor. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.”

The two single moms say their business doesn’t qualify for government financial relief.

“Businesses have suffered quite a bit, as you can imagine,” says Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rakesh Naidu.

Naidu believes the way back will not be easy, saying it will take a lot of resolve and support from the federal and provincial governments.

“It will take time,” he adds. “This is not something that will change overnight even though all of us hope that will happen.”

Naidu says that one third of small to medium sized businesses aren’t expected to survive if emergency orders remain in place much longer.

“The more this continues, the more the emergency lock down continues, the more businesses are impacted, the more the costs and overheads keep on rising, the more debt level keeps increasing, we will see some of the stores not come back,” says Naidu.

The salon owners say they’ve secured the necessary PPE and sanitization needs along with rearranging their set up, even if they‘re only to serve a fraction of their daily clientele.

“We will definitely do whatever we possibly can to keep this open,” says Handsor. “This is our dream, but I will tell you, we will not be fine financially.”