COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – A group of hairstylists gathered outside the statehouse on Monday to ask Governor McMaster to allow them to re-open their salons.
“We’re not just hairstylists. We’re therapists, best friends. Our clients are everything to us,” Sari Catherine Powell said.
Sari Catherine Powell has been doing hair for 15 years and said she’s formed a close relationship with each of her clients.
“I never thought that being away from people was going to be this hard,” she said.
Powell just opened a new salon on March 1st, but because of the Coronavirus, on March 19th, she had to close, causing her to lose thousands of dollars. And she’s not the only one impacted.
“I have girls who are starving. Literally starving. They have no money in their accounts,” Bobbi Gregory said. “One of my girls sent me a screenshot the other day of her bank account and she had $1 left in her bank account, and she has three children to feed.”
Both Powell and Gregory said they understand the frustration some have with re-opening, but they said their livelihoods are on the line.
“It’s not that we want to re-open or that we want to potentially risk infecting other people. It’s that we have no other option,” Gregory said.
That’s why they signed a petition that was delivered to Governor McMaster on Monday, and they had several lawmakers there in support.
The stylists said they already have several safety measures in place on any given day.
“As for the gloves and sanitation and disinfectant, those are things we do normally,” Powell said. “We have to be clean. Whether it’s COVID-19 or not, we have to be clean.”
“I would argue the fact that a salon is probably the most sanitary space that you can walk into,” Gregory added. “The safest place you can be outside of a hospital. Probably safer.”
And they said they’re willing to take extra precautions, like wearing masks.
“Only allowing one client into the salon at a time. No extra guests,” Gregory said.
“Clients not touching the door. We’ll open the door to get them in,” Powell said. “We are going to spread out our chairs, so we don’t have to worry about that many people being in here.”
The proposal that stylists delivered to the governor included measures like asking the client a list of questions–regarding travel history and possible COVID-19 symptoms–before booking an appointment.
They would ask the client to text or call when they arrive at the salon and allow the stylist to open the door for them. Clients could also choose to have their temperature checked before entering the salon.
The salons will provide hand sanitizer and, in some cases, wipes. All clients will be asked to wear a mask and sanitize their hands before going to a stylist’s chair.
If you’re feeling sick, they will ask you to reschedule your appointment.