April 24, 2020 – There has been many changes to the hair salon, massage therapy and cosmetology industries in response to executive orders from Gov Jared Polis in Colorado. Now Gov Polis has said that he’s going to allow hair salons and some non-essential businesses to re-open on May 1st, but that they have to implement “best practices,” with more specific details to come.
The governor issued state-wide Stay-At-Home orders, which included the temporary closure of nonessential businesses. The orders were first issued March 25, 2020 and then were extended on April 6th through April 26th.
Meanwhile the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued an order on March 19th, requiring the closure of nonessential personal services facilities through April 30th. This order included businesses not necessary to maintain an individual’s health or safety, including and not limited to hair and nail salons, spas and massage establishments.
Then the Department of Regulatory Services (DORA) issued further guidance, stating that massage therapy continued to be permitted in Colorado only if the licensee provided services through a medical office, adhering to the prohibition of elective procedures.
On April 20th, Gov Polis announced that he’s going to permit the gradual process of reopening businesses in Colorado as of Monday, April 27th allowing elective procedures to be permitted – meaning massage therapists, estheticians and cosmetologists can go back to work soon.
Various organizations supporting these industries are working with state officials regarding what the work environment may look like for massage those cutting hair, massage therapists, and cosmetologists. The ABMP, Advance Skin Care Professionals, Associated Hair Professio this in a letter to members, saying they are in communication with state officials as they prepare to announce further specifics of requirements in the first phase of reopening:
“At a minimum, expert to see a change in cleaning protocols, wearing gloves and masks when appropriate, distancing workstations six feet apart, and limited clients in waiting rooms/lobbies,” they stated in their letter to members.
In addition, Gov Polis on April 20th said large companies will be able to re-open on May 4, 2020, with no more than 50 percent of workers at a time in their work spaces. Officials are advising that temperatures of workers be tested when they arrive and that they use masks, gloves and social distancing as much as possible.
Then on April 24th, amidst the confusion of many personal service owners and workers, DORA finally emailed a letter to licensees who were questioning when and how they can open, stating that during what Gov Polis calls the Safer-At-Home please in its recovery related plan, that “DORA wants to stress that if you are not currently operating a critical service business, you should not open your doors on April 27th.”
The letter said that the governor’s lifting of state-wide restrictions does not relieve workers of any extended local public health authority restrictions on work or travel and that such restrictions must be lifted before resuming operations.
“Governor Polis is expected to officially announce in the coming days the parameters for personal service businesses to re-open with strict precautions beginning on Friday, May 1st. Following the Governor’s directive, DORA will communicate via email a comprehensive summary of state-level information and guidance specific to your industry. Again, personal services should not take place until these directives are officially conveyed, can be fully implemented, and you can safely re-open, should you choose to.”
State officials are working to come up with more specific guidelines this week that businesses should adhere to but as for now businesses in these industries are being asked to think through how they can function and keep themselves and customers safe, and possible elective ideas (some of which may become orders) include limiting the number of service providers (allowing maybe only several stylists at a time in the case of salons), using every other chair or station, frequently sanitizing work area, and having customers wait in their vehicles, possibly checking in and paying through cell phones, limiting even the exchange of money.
Local governments may have additional restrictions, so for those who own businesses, be aware of local and municipalities orders as well.
A long-time employee of a local favorite business, Aguilar’s Family Hairstyling, which has salons on the East Side of Pueblo, Pueblo West and Colorado Springs, said between their own family’s network of those who work at salons and nail places, that about 80 families were affected by the temporary shut downs of their businesses.
Thus as businesses like theirs reopen on a limited basis, its encouraged that loyal clients purchase items like shampoo, conditioner and other supplies – as well as gift cards for later use, and tip well, to help shop owners and employees, who will at first be working on a limited basis, with less income, get finically caught up, as likely many got behind, although there was some governmental financial relief during this time period.
In this photo from the Facebook page of Aguilar’s Family Hairstyling West, located in Pueblo West, which already has online scheduling, one employees was already wearing gloves last year and soon he’ll be back to work wearing a mask too. #SupportLocal
Story by Jenny Paulson / Independent Journalist