Pressure to reopen salons and barbershops in Mississippi is growing.
Gov. Tate Reeves closed all personal-care businesses in the state, along with numerous other businesses deemed non-essential, in his shelter-at-home order on April 3 due to COVID-19 concerns. Many businesses voluntarily closed their doors before that.
Last week, the governor started loosening restrictions for retail businesses, and Thursday, restaurants will reopen for dine-in services but with numerous limitations. Some outdoor recreation areas such as lakes and beaches have also been reopened.
Personal services where person-to-person contact can’t be avoided continue to stay closed other than curbside pick-up, drive-thru, or delivery for retail sale of their products. Those businesses include gyms, nail and hair salons, and barbershops.
The governor also kept closed places of amusement or entertainment, like movie theaters and museums.
Wednesday, Secretary of State Michael Watson weighed in on the side of reopening personal care businesses.
“I’ve heard from numerous hurting hair salon owners, beauticians, barber shops and nail salons over the past few weeks,” Watson wrote in a Facebook post. “Most are some of the cleanest places in which you’ll ever walk, and just like every other small business, they take risks every time they open their doors. By coupling those thoughts with the long-held conservative principle of personal responsibility, I believe it’s time to let them reopen. … I trust them. Their customers trust them. Texas is opening theirs this Friday. If they can do it, we can do it. It’s time.”
Lindsay Cash, owner of the Vamp Salon in Jackson, Miss., wrote and letter to the governor and also started an online petition on change.org to push Reeves into rethinking his position on opening salons.
“Why are we being singled out?” Cash asked in her letter to Reeves reprinted on the petition site. “We have been given no concrete reason(s) as to why our businesses are being forced to remain shuttered. While we more than understand we are a ‘personal service’ industry, we are also well trained and educated as to hygiene, sanitation regulations, and our role in protecting public health. We have not been given a factual basis of valid reasons as to why we are not allowed to open our doors and get back to work in a safe manner, when almost every other industry has their hands untied.”
“Salons are at an almost total loss of revenue and stylists at a complete loss of income,” Cash added. “Our ability to provide for ourselves and our families has been stripped from us. Governor, this is our livelihood. It is more than ‘essential’ to us and our families. It is our lifeline and it has been severed.”
Cash set out a set of guidelines under which her salon and others should be allowed to reopen. They include taking employees’ temperatures, limiting the number of people in the salon and curtailing some services, such as blow-drying, to limit the amount of time a customer may spend in the business.
As of this writing, about 1,800 people have signed the petition.See a typo? Report it here.