Salons grapple with how to reopen as Safer at Home mandates are lifted

Posted at 10:49 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 23:49:27-04

MENASHA, Wis. (NBC 26) -- For business owners, it's been a chaotic 24 hours as the statewide Safer at Home mandate was lifted and counties across Wisconsin localized their own orders to contain the spread of coronavirus.

"My initial reaction was excitement that we were hopefully going to be able to get somewhat back to normal," Studio R Beauty Lounge owner Bekki Garcia said. "However, I do feel as though if they were to say that we could open tomorrow, I would not feel confident in doing so because my staff is not prepared right now."

Studio R is located in Winnebago County, where they issued their own Safer at Home order that maintains the same restrictions on hair salons that they've faced for the past two months. This includes limiting retail transactions to curbside and prohibiting in-person services. Garcia anticipates opening when Winnebago County's order is set to expire on May 20 at 8 a.m. However, Garcia is placing a lot of emphasis on the public health risking in doing so instead of her salon's own need for revenue.

"It's not about the law. It's not about having us being restricted and we're trying to hold you back, it's literally the health department that's trying to ensure our safety at this point," Garcia said. "We are going to be taking extra safety measures with making sure that we have gloves and masks and thermometers and all of the requirements that we need to do so that when they do lift everything, we are all on the same page and ready to open."

Garcia has already placed an order for 100 masks via Amazon that already arrived to the salon, and she anticipates placing more orders for not masks and various other types of personal protective equipment, insisting that the burden is on businesses to provide PPE for their clients.