Salon chairs sit idle: ‘We are being penalized for what people are doing outside’


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Jordan Betts-Sahr is concerned that her hair salon, need. salon and spa, will be sitting idle for the biggest revenue month in the year. She recently had to shut down due to being in an orange zone. One of the reasons it concerns her: she says the space is designed perfectly to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, and has numbers to prove it.

“My space is brand new, we have state of art ventilation, filtration, enough space to cut hair twelve feet away from each other,” she said. On top of that, wiping everything down consistently and wearing added PPE. About 3,700 clients have come through her salon since July, and there have been no cases.

“I know we are safe,” she said.

Even with the guidelines and absence of any COVID-19 transmission linked to her salon, she feels as though her successful efforts to keep everyone safe are being ignored by the state.

“It’s like we are like little children that did what the parent said, and when we did it, it still wasn’t good enough,” she said.

As a result, she and three of her team members decided to keep working – only they’re executing their idea by renting space from another salon, La Salon Bianca, in a yellow zone. They plan to rent for a week.

“The salon owner actually created a little pocket of space for us so we could just stay together with our clients,” she said. Betts-Sahr said this is just to get last-minute clients in, and prepare for however long they’re closed.

Betts-Sahr says judging from conversations with other area salon owners, if they remain closed for all of Dec., she thinks the city could lose up to 50% of its salons.

Additionally, she says salon owners are taking the hit for decisions other people make when it comes to social gatherings. This is something officials like Governor Andrew Cuomo have been attributing a rise in cases too. Nicole Ilasi, who owns Salon Miaou in Genesee County agrees.

“It’s almost like we are being penalized for what people are doing outside,” said Ilasi.

Ilasi says she is especially frustrated, because the numbers in her county are as high as areas that have been shutdown – yet she is still open. Ilasi says she is having trouble getting insight into when a possible shutdown could be creeping up in her area.

“We don’t know if we’re going to be jumping to orange in a day … I’m running out of supplies, running out of color, do I place a large order and get hit with a shut down the next day and have $1,000 dollars on my credit card?”

Both Ilasi and Betts-Sahr say they’re asking the community to rethink their social situations, avoid large gatherings not just to keep everyone safe, but to keep the livelihood of small businesses in mind.

“If the numbers rise because of that, people not doing their part, not social distancing, gathering, then we have to sacrifice our businesses,” said Ilasi.

They’re also continuing the creative streak for staying afloat. Betts-Sahr her team are making custom self care boxes for their customers in the meantime, while all they can do for now is just ride it out.

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