State Clarifying: Haircuts And Other Personal Services Won’t Reopen Monday

Small Businesses In Colorado Springs Think About Reopening After Coronavirus
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Genaro Vasquez is getting his downtown barbershop in Colorado Springs picked up and ready on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, for when the state’s mandatory closure order ends for non-essential businesses.

Colorado’s stay-at-home order expires Sunday, but for those ready to get a haircut or massage, the wait will be a little longer.

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has clarified that personal service businesses, such as massage parlors, acupuncturists and hair and nail salons must wait until Friday, May 1 to open.

In an email sent last night, DORA stated in bold text:

“DORA wants to stress that if you are not currently operating as a critical service business, you should not open your doors on April 27th.”

The messaging contradicts a statement made by Polis this past Monday in describing the state’s forthcoming “Safer At Home” guidelines.

“All those personal services that we need, the haircuts, the dental, all of that,” Polis said, will be “coming back in after the expiration of the ‘stay at home’ order — as long as the precautions are taken.”

Several news organizations reported Monday as the date for reopening these businesses, leading to confusion among salon owners.

Jill Sarmo, DORA’s director of communications and public engagement, clarified that while retail businesses may open for curbside delivery of their products on Monday, the professions DORA categorizes as being part of the personal services industry must hold off.

“What we want salons to do is to wait because there will be additional guidance that will be released on Monday, the 27th, that will explain to them how they can do that and keep themselves as safe as possible during this next phase,” Sarmo said.

That will give those businesses a few days to familiarize themselves with the required protocol for handwashing as well as wearing protective gloves and face masks. 

Meanwhile, some workers in the personal services industry worry that even next Friday may be too soon to open. An online petition asking Colorado to keep these businesses closed has already gathered nearly 8,000 signatures.

"I'm not comfortable with going back so soon,” said Brighton cosmetologist Anna Nelson. She has underlying conditions that put her at greater risk should she contract COVID-19 and her son has special needs. “I feel that it will compromise my health. It will compromise my son's health. Honestly, it would be irresponsible for me as a parent to even think about going back to work right now."

Sarmo said these guidelines present a baseline for what businesses can do. When they decide to open, she said, is a personal decision for each company.

“If a salon or a shop decides not to reopen because they don't feel that now is the right time to do that and they don't either want to put themselves or their employees at risk in that way, that is totally fine,” Sarmo said.

In addition, some counties, including Jefferson and  Denver, have announced they will keep their “stay home” order in place longer than the state, preventing businesses from reopening until later in May.