Hair salon owner seeking more guidance from state in advance of reopening

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WLNE) – Small business owners in Rhode Island are calling on the state to give them a clear picture of what steps need to be taken now in order to be able to reopen safely when the time comes.

Sarah Turcone owns “Twirl Hair Studio” in Smithfield and says that even though it is not time to reopen hair salons yet, she is trying to plan ahead.

Turcone has been a hairstylist for 20 years and a business owner for 11 years. She feels the need to represent the 1,400 hair salons and 18,000 licensed hairstylists in the state of Rhode Island. 

Her salon operates as a membership business, specializing in all hair needs and treatments. 

The salon has been closed since March 21, 2020 and she still does not know when she and her employees will be allowed to safely get back to work.

In the meantime she has been selling customized hair kits to keep customers happy and her business afloat. She is thankful that all of her employees have been able to collect unemployment benefits during this uncertain time, but the virus has caused severe financial loss.

She stressed the fact of how hard it is for salon owners to prepare, because the state has not set clear guidelines about factors such as personal protective equipment and building capacity.

“We want to be compliant, and we want to be safe.  But, we do want to be able to plan, and we need – when we do go back, it needs to be with guidelines that help us thrive as a business, and not just get back to work just for the sake of it.” Said, Turcone.

Without specific guidelines, Turcone has no way of predicting her business’s weekly finances along with not knowing how to schedule her staff, book appointments, and how to sanitize properly. 

To get a head start, she said she ordered some of the materials she thinks she will need, but some of those items are on backorder. She has run into price gouging as well.

Turcone wants to be heard and seeks specific guidelines from officials to help her and other business owners get back to work safely and thrive as a business. 

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island