Gov. Lamont Delays Reopening of Conn. Hair Salons and Barbershops; Now Targeting June 1 Reopening

Hair salons and barbershops were originally part of the state's phase one reopening set for May 20 but on May 18, the governor announced these businesses would not be able to reopen until June

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Hair salons and barbershops in Connecticut will now no longer reopen on May 20 and will not be able to reopen before early June, the governor announced Monday.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday afternoon he is targeting June 1 for those businesses to be able to reopen.

The governor's office first announced the change in a statement saying that Gov. Ned Lamont and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo would now plan to realign the reopening of hair salons and barbershops in the two states in early June.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from many owners and employees, and at this time I think the best approach is that we hit pause on the reopening of hair salons and barbershops, take a step back, and allow some more time as preparations continue to be made," Governor Lamont said.

The governor announced Monday that hair salons and barber shops will not be allowed to reopen on May 20.

Lamont said many hair salon owners he spoke with wanted an extra week or two.

"Look, I apologize because I know some of you were all set to go on May 20," Lamont said to salons owners who were ready to reopen.

Lamont said some owners asked for more time to find child care as well.

"I listened. I was on the phone with a few hundred stylists five, six days ago," Lamont said.

He said Rhode Island governor's decision to push back that state's reopening of hair salons and barbershops played into his decision.

"We made our own choice on that but it did seem thoughtful" to do it in cooperation with Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the governor said.

Governor Lamont answered a question about why he announced a change in salons reopening date two days before many salon owners and stylists had prepared to reopen.

Hair stylists should not reopen ahead of the June 1 date or go to other locations to do hair cuts, said David Lehman, the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

They would be in violation of an executive order, Lehman said.

State Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano expressed disappointment in the delayed reopening.

"Today’s announcement has completely shaken the public’s trust," Fasano said in a statement. "Governor Lamont has repeatedly talked about the importance of making decisions based on science. But today's last-minute delay is not based on science. It's not based on a change in hospitalizations or testing or any other metric identified by the experts. It's a policy decision based on input that should have been sought long before decisions were made."

Fasano said salons spent thousands of dollars to get ready to open.

"This is a double hit on employers who not only are not allowed to operate their businesses, but are still waiting for unemployment checks because of the Department of Labor’s issues," said Fasano. "They are struggling, not only as businesses but as individuals, and the one piece of hope they were given was swiped away at the last minute. Many have no income, they have no way to make a living, and now they are being told to wait again."

Mayor David Martin of Stamford expressed his support for the decision.

“I support Governor Lamont’s decision to delay the reopening of hair salons and barbershops in Connecticut,” said Stamford Mayor David Martin. “Prior to this announcement, Stamford’s own Department of Health shared concerns about reopening hair salons and barbershops at this time. The success of our reopening plans rely on the public’s confidence to keep them healthy and safe and we could not guarantee that for hair salons and barbershops at this time.”

"We did hear your voice on this," the governor said. "Look from a public health point of view, we felt very confident that what we were doing would not jeopardize your health and more importantly, or just as importantly, not jeopardize the health of the greater community. But people needed a little bit of time and we gave them some time to take care of some things that would make them feel safer."

Many hair salon owners and stylists expressed concerns to NBC Connecticut about the decision to reopen on May 20.

The state released guidance for businesses, including hair salons and barbershops to be able to reopen.

The guidelines for hair salons opting to reopen are as follows:

For Hair Salons:

  • Maximum 50 percent capacity
  • Appointments only
  • Waiting rooms closed
  • Workstations six feet apart
  • Physical barriers where possible
  • Contactless payments preferred
  • Tools soaked in disinfectant between clients
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes at entrance points
  • High-contact areas and bathrooms cleaned frequently
  • Limit conversation where possible.
  • Employees to wear face masks and face shields or eye protection
  • Employees to provide clean smock for each customer
  • Customers to wear face masks or cloth face coverings
  • Increased ventilation and airflow where possible

For the latest on the state's reopening, visit our live CT Reopening blog

Stylists, salon owners and customers have been reaching out to NBC Connecticut with your thoughts on hair salons being able to reopen on May 20
Some hair salon owners in Connecticut say they don't think opening on May 20 will be safe for customers or their employees.
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