Barbershop, hair salon owners split on health safety measures required by the state when they reopen May 20


(WTNH) — Barbershops and hair salons are part of the group of businesses slotted to reopen May 20, one week from Wednesday. The State has given strict public health restrictions on all businesses when they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but stylists and salon owners say the restrictions given to them make it nearly impossible to do their jobs. Others say, it’s about time they get back to work.

With phase one of the state reopening plan just over a week away, there are a lot of things up in the air. In fact, that’s potentially part of the problem. At least with respect to the use of blow dryers at hair salons.

“I think they got it right the first time” Gino Moncada said. He owns the Gallery Salon in Farmington.

Earlier this week, Governor Ned Lamont said salons would not be able to use blow dryers – a tool several stylists and salon owners told News 8 is essential to their work. But Monday evening, the State reversed its policy after an outcry from minority-owned businesses who say the policy disproportionately affected their clients.

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Others, like Moncada, feel it’s a risky proposition, saying, “Hair is protein, I mean you’re flying around, when you have blow dryers and there’s loose hair in the scalp and you’re blow-drying it out, it does travel, it does travel throughout the salon.”

Jean Camilletti owns Blo Blow Dry Bar in West Hartford. As you would think from the name, blowouts are their livelihood. But Camilletti, who said her staff works on all types of hair, said she did her homework coming to the determination that no one was putting their health at risk.

“We went ahead and checked CDC and WHO…the Professional Beauty Association. We did a lot of leg work to see was their evidence and we couldn’t find any evidence,” she said.

Blo Blow Dry Bar is a chain, and Camilletti owns three more salons in New York.

“There are 20 locations that have opened in the last two weeks in their state’s under Phase One. There’s no indication, so we are hanging our hat on that because we can’t find the evidence.” Camilletti explained.

“I had an idea of what to expect. I have a bunch of Salon owner friends that own salons in Atlanta have opened up without blow dries. So my question was to the governor, how is it possible that these people are able to open up without blow-drying, yet you’re allowing us to blow dry.” Moncada said.

RELATED: Guidelines for restaurants, retailers, hair salons and offices reopening on May 20

Moncada believes that small business owners don’t have much of a choice with respect to open or close, citing a lack of financial help from the government.

Moncada said he does have a choice when it comes to blow dryers: “We will not use them in the first two weeks we are open, then re-evaluate after that.”

“Most importantly, we want our staff to be safe, we want our clientele to be safe. Most important. 100%.” Camilletti said.

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