Sen. Berger calls on governor to allow counties to reopen salons, barber shops

Raleigh, NC (WWAY) — Senate Leader Phil Berger today called on Governor Roy Cooper to grant counties local flexibility to reopen hair salons and barber shops.

According to a news release from Berger’s press office, 25 states, including nearly every state in the Southeast, have reopened hair salons and barber shops in some capacity, and three more have announced reopenings in the next few days.

“It’s time to follow the lead of the majority of states in our region and the country. Hair salon owners and employees can’t work and many of them still can’t get unemployment assistance from the Cooper Administration,” Sen. Berger said. “Gov. Cooper needs to provide counties with the flexibility to reopen hair salons and barber shops if they choose.”

Sen. Bill Rabon said, “Gov. Cooper can’t have it both ways. He can’t prohibit people from working, and then fail to provide the unemployment assistance that people are due.”

Berger said counties should be permitted to reopen hair salons and barber shops provided they adhere to common-sense public health rules similar to those in other states.

Some of those rules include:

  • Scheduling customers by appointment only
  • Declining customers and sending employees home who have COVID-like symptoms
  • Requiring employees and customers to wear masks
  • Removing communal materials like magazines
  • Cleaning and disinfecting equipment after each use

During a news conference on Wednesday, NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen addressed the letter.

“As we’ve been talking about, we wanted to move through the phases here in a measured way. We started in Phase 1 activities lower risk by nature, outdoors or if you went indoors, ones where you could circulate, walk around and not be stationary,” Cohen said.

Dr. Cohen said the transmission of the virus happens more when you’re in an enclosed space for a prolonged period of time.

“By nature, salons, barber shops, you are sitting down for a longer period of time and folks are close together because they are working on someones hair. We want those activities to return. In Phase 2 we contemplate those activities. The issue is about risk. We want folks to start with lower risk activities and then move on with higher risk activities. We still see a lot of virus here, we want to make sure we’re not going to see a surge of cases. Starting with low risk activities was our focus. We are less than 2 weeks away of a move to Phase 2. Hold on there, I know everyone there wants a haircut, including me, as we watch our trends, keep doing the 3 Ws, we will get there when we pull together as a state,” Cohen said.

Under Governor Cooper’s reopening plan, hair salons and barber shops could likely start to reopen during Phase 2, with reduced capacity and special social distancing measures.

The earliest Phase 2 would start is May 22.

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