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Salon workers in limbo during COVID-19 crisis: 'We just want answers'

Posted at 9:08 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 08:44:32-04

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va.-- Salon employees who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 say that they are stuck in limbo - jobless and in some cases struggling to receive unemployment.

Joanna Pearce, Co-Owner of La Bella Vita Beauty in Prince George County said that salon owners are desperate to know when they can reopen.

"We just want answers, when can we open, when can we get back to some normalcy in our careers and our lives?"

Across the Commonwealth, salon chairs are empty and electric razors and blow dryers are quiet.

Susan Steward, Owner of Apothic Company Salon in Petersburg said that the unique sounds of a salon now a deafening quiet.

"We all miss our customers, we have no income coming in and un-employment for the girls who are able to get it, just isn't very much money."

"This is extremely tough, we operate as self employed hair dressers, so all independent contractors," Pierce said, adding that she was initially denied unemployment and had to appeal.

"We know that we need to do the right thing for our guests and for ourselves to stop the spread of COVID but at the same time, we're all scared, we don't have any money coming in," Steward said. "We've got both answers from the Governor's Office saying that we can open on April, April 24th and now we can't and we have to wait until June 10th. We don't know what to do."

On Monday afternoon Gov. Northam said that he would soon announce the new date for business openings.

"I will have an announcement on Wednesday. As far as when that date will be I realize April 23 is only a week and a half away. And I know the businesses need to know that but it will be extended. I just don't know for how long".

Many in the salon business will be able to file for financial help under the "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance" program, which is part of the Federal CARES Act, which is for workers not eligible for regular unemployment