NEW BRITAIN – With cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order Thursday night directing the closure of establishments like nail salons, hair salons and barbershops to take effect immediately.
“These are difficult decisions that are all meant to put public health first,” said Lamont.
A notice was sent out by the Department of Public Health (DPH) Tuesday to local barbers, hairdressers, cosmetologists, nail technicians, estheticians, eyelash technicians and massage therapists urging, but not requiring them to cease operations indefinitely due to COVID-19, which is being spread mainly from person-to-person contact between two people who are in close contact with one another. The nature of these professions puts these workers in direct contact with clients and customers, therefore the risk of transmission if a client is infected is higher than professions that do not require direct contact.
“This pandemic is extremely difficult for small businesses owners, as we have employees, overhead, and are just getting by, but we will adhere to the executive order and close the salon immediately,” said Adrian Goodwin, co-owner and marketing manager, Jeweled Hair Lounge and Beauty Spa in New Britain. “I not only worry about myself, but the stylists whose lives will be greatly impacted. Safety is paramount. But we will overcome.”
Some local health districts and departments had already required salons to close during this time. By taking this action salons and similar businesses will be in alignment with the current restrictions placed on businesses like restaurants, gyms and movie theaters. These actions will contribute to the state and national efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Many hair salons planned to remain open until mandated due to financial reasons.
“This is a serious and scary position to put us in as a small business that relies on the service we give to the public, and if we shut down indefinitely, it is a financial crisis we all endure,” said Jasmine Cintron local hair stylist and owner of Industry Hair Studio in New Britain.
“It’s unfair to us small business owners which require us to work for ourselves. This is how we feed our families,” said Maxine Smith, owner of MS Blaze Hair Studio in New Britain.
For salons and similar businesses that chose not to cease operations prior to the executive order, it was critical to take steps to protect clients and staff.
“Prior to today we had put precautions in place for our customers and staff such as supplying customers with gloves while they shop in the store, ensuring customers wash their hands before being serviced, disinfecting stations after each customer, etc.,” Goodwin said.
“We were asking clients who have traveled recently or have been ill to please stay home, others we were handing out hand sanitizer, wiping down all surfaces every two hours and minimizing the amount of clients in the shop at one time, no more than 10, accommodating the clients that already had existing appointments,” Cintron said.
Ciara Hooks can be reached at 860-801-5082 or firstname.lastname@example.org