Reopen Connecticut: Hair salons, barbershops allowed to reopen

CONNECTICUT -- Barbershops and hair salons in Connecticut are open again Monday with required coronavirus precautions in place, under an executive order signed by Governor Ned Lamont last week.

Under the state requirements, shops and salons can only serve customers by appointment only, waiting areas must be closed, customers and workers must wear face masks, chairs must be at least 6 feet apart, and scissors and other tools must be disinfected between customers.

It was sweet music to the ears of the owner and customers at Salon Mimoza in Greenwich.

"I've very happy and glad I could open up," owner Mimoza Bardhoku said. "We need to work need to get back to working."

And while some clients are not yet ready to come back, others were eager to arrive.

"It will be safe here," Bardhoku said. "We're disinfecting after each client. In this industry, we've always been disinfecting for clients and keeping up. Now, just a little more."

It's been 10 weeks since Dino Fernicola heard the regular sounds in his barbershop in Wallington. And like the salon, he's made some changes -- including the purchase of a washer and drier to clean all the towels. Additionally, his customers will have their temperature checked..

"We'll also be wiping down the door handles and any places that are high traffic and touched and things like that to make sure it's a safe experience here," he said.

Lamont first said barbershops and hair salons could reopen May 20, but he pushed the date back after some shop owners and employees said they wanted more time to prepare.

Other owners and workers were frustrated by the postponement. One owner, Jason Bunce, says business in his shop is down about $80,000 from last year, and he's hoping he can now get back on track.

"We're about 75% to 90% booked usually," he said. "Now, it's at 100%."

Casinos in the state are open as well, as both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods had soft re-openings over the weekend.

They are open to the public Monday with social distancing and other safety measures in place.

The governor also increased the limits on social and recreational gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The previous limit was five people per gathering.

Phase 2, which includes indoor dinging, hotels, movie theaters and gyms, is tentatively set for June 20. Phase 3 could follow four weeks after that.

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