US salons struggle with coronavirus lockdown fatigue

Salon owners in New York and New Jersey are eager to reopen safely and regain financial stability

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As the coronavirus curve slowly flattens, salon owners nationwide are eager to get back to business.

New Jersey salon owner Kelly Anello, of Razberri Hair and Nail Salon, said Gov. Phil Murphy’s orders to keep small businesses like salons closed is “trampling” on her constitutional rights.

“I’m not comfortable with that at all,” Anello told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney.

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Murphy, on Monday, said the state had entered “Stage 1” of his multiphase reopening plan for businesses and activities closed by the virus according to their risk level. Though he didn’t specify timelines for future stages, the current stage loosened restrictions for businesses "easiest to safeguard" to reopen, like "non-essential construction with protections" and curbside retail. Stay-at-home orders have been in effect since March 21.

But Anello said her salon is prepared to welcome back clients with safety guidelines and sanitation equipment in place. In a coalition with other New Jersey salons, Anello said they’ve opened a lawsuit against Gov. Murphy for continuing disruption to business.

If New Jersey law continues to keep businesses closed, Anello said she doesn’t know if she can carry on without additional PPP aid.

“I've been closed for over two months already,” she said. “My girls are collecting unemployment. My financial situation? I mean, it's not going to last for another two months or another month for closing, that's for sure. It's not fair."

Across the Hudson River in Tuckahoe, New York, Ashley DiMatteo, owner of Ashley Lauren Beauty Lounge, has been experiencing the same frustrations due to financial hardship and uncertainty.

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DiMatteo said the salon has had to cancel two months of appointments, furlough six stylists and will have to open the salon an extra day each week to catch up on business. On top of it all, DiMatteo is currently seven months pregnant.

"It's definitely stressful," DiMatteo told FOX Business. "Not having certain answers or 100 percent guidelines is a little frustrating... But the staff and everyone is healthy and safe and that's all that matters."

The salon and other businesses have been closed indefinitely since March 21 and guidelines to reopen have yet to be administered. Last week Gov. Cuomo implemented phase one of the state's reopening plan in regions that met certain criteria allowing for manufactuirng, construction and curbside retail to resume.

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DiMatteo said she cannot wait to reopen safely and will be following safety procedures based on other states including spacing her stations six feet apart, requiring staff and clients to wear masks, temperature checks and operating on a split schedule.

"We have disposable capes for [customers] as well as masks," she said. "There's no waiting area... No children. No guests... We're also going to ask them to not bring in any personal items besides a wallet and a cellphone."

DiMatteo said she's "completely nervous" about upholding financial stability, especially if a second coronavirus wave were to shut down business again.

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