It’s been longer than two months since hair salons and barbershops were last able to open their doors in New Jersey, and owners of some of those businesses are telling the governor they have the safety protocols necessary to reopen.
Tricia Difranco owns a salon in Lyndhurst, and said she closed up shop three or four days before Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all to shut down. Since then, she’s been forced to lay off 30 employees, “mostly women and new moms too,” she said.
Adding insult to injury, Difranco said other businesses that are no safer than her own were allowed to stay open.
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“Our sanitation protocols are so strict. We know whose coming in every single time,” DiFranco said, adding that it’s frustrating to see lines at places like Home Depot where customers frequently are not six feet apart.
A coalition of salon and barbershop owners this week held a demonstration, pleading with Gov. Murphy to let them reopen. Murphy appeared on CNBC Thursday, and essentially dashed any hopes that they could get back to work immediately.
“The barbershop that all of us need, the salon, the gym – those are complicated. I’m hopeful with the progress we’ve been making that that’s a matter of weeks,” Murphy said.
But salon owners say there’s nothing complicated about it, especially given that 90 percent of their training is on safety, they said. Christine Modica displayed the plastic separators she has put between each barber chair at her salon in Glen Rock
“We can train our staff, we can let our patrons know that this is what’s going to be happening,” Modica said.
The salon owner said that she and many others have been creating their own safety protocols, because they have gotten zero guidance from the state.
“Now our coalition has over 900 members, people just wanting answers,” Modica said, adding that the group has been reaching out to contact legislators.
Barbershops and salons in Connecticut staged protests as well earlier in the week, demanding Gov. Ned Lamont open their businesses as well. The state was set to have them resume taking customers this week, before a last-minute change pushed it back to June 1, when Rhode Island will be opening theirs as well.
There is no date yet set for when New Jersey salons and barbershops can look to reopen, but it appears it will be well after June 1.