An Ocean County woman says she was turned away from a hair appointment the day before her wedding just because she was a nurse at a hospital that treats COVID-19 patients.

Hair salons and barber shops, which were allowed to reopen June 22 for the first time since March, are supposed to screen out clients who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. But state regulators tell New Jersey 101.5 that the rules are not meant to exclude nurses or health care workers.

In a now-deleted post on her Facebook page last week, Kim Russo said she was denied service during the intake process at the Beauty Store Salon in Brick when she told the receptionist that she was a nurse.

"I start crying because nothing has gone right for us," she wrote. "Why is it that everything is opening with precautions, but a nurse is still being discriminated against[?] I could have lied and they would have never known."

Russo could not be reached for comment. The beauty salon said Russo later apologized to the business but the owner did not return New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.

Russo was quoted in the Asbury Park Press saying that she was able to find another hairdresser in short notice and her scaled-back wedding with less than three dozen guests went on the next day.

Beauty parlors and salons are guided by an 11-page administrative order from the Division of Consumer Affairs. The order requires personal care shops to screen clients for recent symptoms, take their temperature with a no-contact forehead device, and question them about whether they've been in contact with anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

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Personal care shops are supposed to take clients' temperature before serving them. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

DCA spokeswoman Gema de las Heras this week said that healthcare workers should not be rejected out of hand.

"Although individual personal care service providers are generally permitted to supplement the screening questions required by DCA, these mandatory screening questions are not intended to screen out asymptomatic healthcare workers whose only exposure to individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 has been in a healthcare setting in which the worker was wearing appropriate personal protective equipment," she said in a written statement.

Personal care businesses should screen out clients who've had the following symptoms in the last 72 hours: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting.

Personal care businesses include hair braiding shops, nail salons, electrology facilities, day spas and medical spas at which elective and cosmetic medical procedures are performed, massage parlors, tanning salons and tattoo parlors.

Other regulations include wearing of face coverings by clients and staff and waiting 10-15 minutes between clients in order to disinfect the work areas.

KEEP READING: Is New Jersey beating the virus?

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email

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