‘All the hard work we put in place is down the drain’: Hair salon owners, stylists protest decision to push back reopening

Connecticut

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– More than a hundred hair salon owners and workers took to the streets of New Haven Tuesday to protest Governor Ned Lamont’s decision to push back their opening to June 1.

Unlike Monday’s protesters, these owners say they are ready to open Wednesday, as planned.

They want to be preparing their shops to open Wednesday. Instead, they are crowding the sidewalk in front of New Haven’s Skull & Combs.

“A lot of us here today did what was necessary and what was called on us to do,” said Skull & Combs owner Jason Bunce. “The rug just got pulled out from underneath us.”

Related: Some relieved, others livid: Gov. Lamont delays reopening hair salons, barbershops to June 1

That rug got pulled after a drive-by protest Monday held by salon owners and workers who said the needed more time to purchase PPE for their workers, and cleaning products. Apparently, the Governor listened, pushing back the opening date by 11 days.

“It’s not how it should have been done, especially two days before we were supposed to open,” said Dino Fernicola, owner of Dino’s Modern Barbershop. “All the hard work we put in place is down the drain, and now those bills are coming due of all the money I spent.”

Fernicola says he spent $4,000 on new equipment. Now it will be another 11 days until he can make any of that money back.

“I understood that the opening was a voluntary opening,” said Norma Giannattasio of Visions Hair Salon in Milford. “Which, in my opinion, meant if you are ready to open you open, and if you’re not ready, you don’t open.”

There are plenty of owners, however, who say there’s no way to cut hair and meet CDC guidelines.

“We should be able to maintain very clear social distancing, obviously 6 feet apart,” explained Leah Kisselbrack of Leah’s Bella Vita in a YouTube video. “That’s not even possible in our line of work.”

All the owners and workers in New Haven Tuesday morning say they have followed all the rules to make sure employees and clients are safe.

“And you take away our opportunity to operate based on a part of the industry not being ready,” Bunce said. “That is not how this country works. It’s never worked that way. McDonalds doesn’t shut down when Burger King runs out of buns”

The hope is that if they make enough noise, as much noise as the protests yesterday, maybe they can convince the Governor to change his mind.

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