NJ salon plans to reopen — would rather work than be a spectacle
PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS — A hair salon in Morris County has set its own tentative reopening date, as its owners are getting frustrated by what they said is a lack of an action plan that involves them.
Nicholas Mirabella, who co-owns the Brick & Mirror Beauty Bar and Hair Salon alongside George Verdis said they’re in the same shopping center as a Home Depot and ShopRite, where there’s a steady stream of customers.
He said they’re confused over discrepancies as to what makes certain other small businesses, such as pet groomers, "essential" in the state's eyes over their own beauty bar and salon for personal grooming services.
And so, Mirabella said, unless Gov. Phil Murphy's office gives signs it's willing to budge soon on a executive order that has shut down most public-facing "non-essential" businesses since March, Brick & Mirror will open up on June 1.
Mirabella said he doesn't want to become a spectacle, with people waving flags or signs or posting a copy of the constitution in the window — the sort of high-enthusiasm demonstrations seen when a gym defied Murphy's executive order Monday.
He just wants to peacefully reopen as safely as possible, after two months closed, he said.
Mirabella said he and his business partner are shooting for next month, but if the governor's Office or even the township mayor had a list of things needed before reopening, he would have no problem pushing their opening by a week or two.
“If there’s other guidelines we have to get equipment for or the proper solution to sanitize with, we’ll be on hold until that comes in, but as of June 1, I don’t see it being difficult to find everything we need to keep things sanitary,” Mirabella said.
As of Monday, the state has seen 148,039 positive cases based on test results and 10,435 COVID-19 deaths have been reported.
Among safety measures Mirabella said his salon was prepared to take would be a "one client at a time" change.
That's a departure from the typical salon practice of working with more than one customer at a time, especially when doing a hair coloring. Mirabella said working with one individual at a time would both conserve protective gear such as gloves and would help lessen the capacity.
Mirabella said his salon also planned to take temperatures of clients and staff, and allow 15 minutes between each single appointment for full sanitizing of a stylist's station and tools.
Staff members who don’t yet feel comfortable coming into work would not have to, Mirabella said, but he said for many of them, savings are all but gone and they want to return to getting a normal paycheck.
Mirabella said his business has heard from customers who are getting impatient, after seeing friends in other states where reopening efforts has allowed for hair appointments and other "more normal" activities.
He said after being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting a haircut or other overdue treatment would provide clients with a mental or self care boost.
Mirabella said it was “ridiculous” that Murphy threatened sending the State Police to the gym that reopened on its own Monday in Bellmawr, Camden County.
“I don’t want to be threatened,” Mirabella said. “I just want to open my business — cut hair.”
At a state briefing hours after the defiant gym reopening, State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said gym co-owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti were issued summonses and the crowd was warned of the violation.
Also at Monday's state briefing, Murphy gave a preview of what might come next for New Jersey, describing the state as currently in "Stage 1."
In Stage 2, of the state's "Road to Recovery," Murphy said, retail would be expanded, outdoor dining would resume and indoor dining would be allowed with certain restrictions. Limited personal care operations would resume, as well.
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