PA Health Secretary offers explanation on why salons, barbers, nail salons to remain closed

During a press conference late this week, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine was asked why salons, barbershops, nail salons, and personal trainers would not be allowed to operate once a county is moved to to the yellow phase of the reopening plan.

When responding to the question, Levine states that these businesses won’t be allowed to reopen in the yellow phase due to the nature of those businesses not being able to maintain social distancing guidelines.

These businesses have been closed since mid-March due to the mitigation effort for COVID-19. Governor Wolf has announced a plan to reopen the state’s businesses and schools that involves three phases (red, yellow, and green). You can view the plan here.

When a county is designated as being within the yellow phase, some rules involving the operation of businesses are relaxed. However, the operation of salons and similar businesses currently have to wait until a county reaches the green phase to operate. Montgomery County continues to be within the red phase, but about two dozen counties will move to the yellow phase on May 8th.

Locally, Sergio Tosti, who owns three locations of I’m Sergio, including the original location in Conshohocken, has been the most vocal sharing the impact of the lockdown on his business and staff. On Friday, May 1st he wrote on Facebook:

Today is May 1st. Rent due again and again I can’t pay any of them. In this period of time we’ve been shut down, I have already accumulated over $30,000 in just owed rent alone. Thanks to our wonderful governor, it could be June or possibly July when salons and barbershops can open in my counties. If it’s July, I will accumulate about $80,000 in debt from rent and miscellaneous ongoing expenses.

Salons and Barbershops don’t have extreme high volume like other businesses. We are probably the cleanest industry…barbicide, sanitation, constant cleaning and washing of our hands. We will wear masks. Clients will wear masks. We can wear gloves, take temperatures, etc etc. No measure for any business including ours will be 100% preventative.

Every life that is lost is a tremendous loss but how can anyone in this country be okay with this? I’m not writing this for anyone to feel sorry for me. Something just needs to happen. I have searched for answers all day today after listening to Wolf and Levine. I am at a loss so I’m just stuck praying for a miracle.

Additional note – 50 employees without a job. Dying to get back to work. Most still haven’t seen a penny of unemployment compensation yet.

In his statement, Tosti outlined the steps his salons would be willing to take if allowed to reopen such as everyone wearing masks, taking temperatures, etc.

Can salons, barbers, etc. operate safely? Let us know in the comments what you think.