The salon divide: To open or not to reopen in phase two


BATAVIA, N.Y. (WROC) — Hair salons and barbershops were allowed to open under phase two of New York state’s reopening guidelines, and some did.

Others, however, are deciding to wait until phase three or four. Nicole Ilasi owns a salon in Batavia, and wanting to do things safely for her clients and her business, she’s holding out for right now.

Ilasi said she’s waiting because the guidance from Albany about reopening feels rushed and contradictory on PPE, testing, and a number of other areas. Since her job can involve being up close and intimate with clients, it’s already deemed a higher-risk service.

MORE | Rochester, Finger Lakes region advances to phase two of reopening, effective immediately

She says the paperwork on liability, state fines, and getting sued are a huge issue when it comes to reopening, and is urging her fellow salon owners to exercise caution. Ilasi and others have been seeking legal advice. 

“[The lawyers are saying] don’t go back to work until phase three,” Ilasi said. “This is just riddled with liability and in the case of testing, there’s a whole can of worms with negligence there. So, if you get tested before work, and in the time period while you’re waiting for results, you’re working, and the test comes back positive, and through contact tracing a client of yours test positive for COVID, and goes back to you, there’s liability there. You can be sued.”

Ilasi says she’s hoping there will be clearer legal reassurances from the state in the next couple of weeks. 

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