Higher-risk businesses will remain closed until May 15

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Well-over five weeks — that’s how long it’s been since barbers and hairstylists have been forced out of work.

When Governor Kay Ivey announced Tuesday’s “Safer at Home” order, the women at Salon Allure tuned in, but it was anything but what they were expecting to hear.

Four stylists at Salon Allure prepared for Governor Ivey’s announcement to reopen the state. Five minutes before she was scheduled to speak, the women talked about how differently they’ll handle business.

“When we open, it will not be same,” said Salon Allure Co-owner Paula Lecher. “We’ll have spacing, we won’t have as many people in the building, we’ll have shields up at the front desk like you see in the grocery stores,” said Salon Allure Co-Owner Paula Lecher.

The state forced the entire salon to shut down. All 34 employees, including the owners, have been out of work since March 19.

“This has been an emotional roller coaster for everyone that I know,” said Salon Allure Co-owner Michelle McGough.

So Paula Lecher, Michelle McGough, Lindsay Odom, and April Liles sat and waited nearly 20 minutes to hear Governor Ivey come with the good news.

“In my opinion, hair stylists, at least mine, are essential,” said Gov. Kay Ivey during her live press conference in Montgomery. “I look forward to getting back to my hair salon.”

Under the new safer at home order, close-contact service providers will remain closed until at least May 15. The state will open up in phases, but they’re excluded right now.

The Safer at Home order consider entertainment venues, athletic facilities, and close-contact service providers, like salons, higher-risk businesses and activities.

It’s not the news these stylists anticipated Tuesday.

“I’m disappointed, so many of us are ready to go back to work,” said McGough.

But they are brushing back the disappointment.

“We understand we need to keep everybody healthy and safe, so we understand we’re not quite there yet,” Salon Allure Hair Stylist Lindsay Odom.

When they are ready, Salon Allure will have a whole new style.

The Safer at Home order expires May 15. The governor may relax the order or extend it. For now — barbers, stylists, nail techs, tattoo artists and non-medical massage therapists face uncertainty and zero pay.

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