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Connecticut Delays Reopening Hair Salons, Barbershops Due To Safety Concerns

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Connecticut has pushed back a May 20 opening date for barbershops and hair salons to June 1.

Gov. Ned Lamont says it's in response to some business owners who are concerned they're not ready to safely reopen Wednesday.

“I heard from a lot of the folks that run the hair salons, and they said give us a little more time. We are just not ready. We are not ready from the employee point of view feeling comfortable coming back, getting some of the cleaning agents and things they wanted. They wanted an extra week or two. So we said June 1st.”

Some salons had planned to reopen Wednesday, but not Alyssa Haley, owner of Born and Bred Salon in Hartford. Haley told clients on Facebook she wouldn’t open until she was sure she could keep them safe.

“I think this will provide a little bit more peace of mind – not just stylists, clients as well – and we’ll be ready to cut hair in June or when we can,” Haley said.

“I do miss doing hair, I miss my clients, I miss the art of hair.”

But she says she’d have to buy a lot of personal protective equipment. That’d be expensive, and she says that PPE is better served on frontline health care workers.

“There’s really no way to social distance my job. I mean, everything that I do behind the chair is in close proximity to another person.”

Haley says hairstyling is her passion, but it isn’t an essential service.

“It’s summertime, I know everyone wants to get their hair done. But we don’t really have anywhere to go right now. We don’t need to have all these services, putting ourselves at risk for things that are trivial. Getting our hair done is a luxury.”

Haley says a lot of hairstylists, and clients, don’t see a need to rush to reopen.

“For me, it’s really just humanity over vanity. And we are beautiful even if our hair is not done.”

Governor Lamont said the reopening of barber shops and beauty salons in Connecticut is now aligned with the neighboring states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Connecticut businesses that will be allowed to reopen this week include offices, retail stores and restaurants for outdoor dining only.

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As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.
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