Salon, barbershop owners have mixed feelings about governor’s announcement

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Updated: Apr. 27, 2020 at 8:55 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With Monday’s announcement from Governor Greg Abbott, some stores and retailers in Texas are now able to open up with certain restrictions.

Certain businesses like hair salons and barbershops, however, are not allowed to open for at least another two weeks.

“I don’t think its fair for them to open up a portion of it and don’t open up it all,” said Maharold Peoples, the owner of Peoples’ Unisex Barbershop in Jacksonville.

Abbott announced, today, that as of May 1, retail stores, malls, restaurants and movie theaters will be able to open with a 25 percent limit on capacity.

“With retail, there are ways to social distance, you can stay six feet away from other patrons in a store,” said Caycie Lopez, the owner of Headquarters Salon in Tyler. “In a salon setting, there is no way to stay six feet away from your client and from the stylist that you’re working with, it’s a very close environment. So, from that stand point, I understand it completely.”

Abbott said if data shows no COVID-19 influxes after two weeks of the limited openings, those businesses can operate at a 50 percent capacity and gyms, bars, salons and barbershops can open in mid-May.

“My first, initial reaction was disappointment, to be completely honest,” said Lopez. “I was really hoping for Friday, or the latest, Monday but I understand why. I understand the reason behind it, it’s just disappointing. We’re ready to get back to our clients and coworkers and get back to everyday life.”

Salon and barbershop owners across East Texas are frustrated with the decision.

“I got to be on the job to make a dollar, I got to have a head to make a dollar,” said Peoples. “I can’t make a dollar in my house, so I have to be there to work, in order to survive.”

“I don’t really have any concerns, I’ll trust the medical community to basically instruct us how we need to handle things properly, but I think, to me, masks will do,” said Michelle Oliver, a cosmetologist in Lufkin. “Our industry, that’s where we have our education based on, sanitation and sterilization. So, if we go through those motions of sanitation and sterilization with each client, then we should be taking care of things like that better than most industries would.”

Abbott said while his new instructions allow businesses to reopen, it doesn’t mean they have to if they don’t feel safe.

He said his reopening phases are based on current models by stores like HEB and Home Depot, and he hopes to open barbershops and salons as soon as it is medically safe to do so.

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