News: Quick Takes

Senate leader calls on governor to allow counties to reopen salons, barber shops

Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, wants the governor to give counties the option to reopen hair salons and barber shops, which, like other small businesses, are left crippled by the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Twenty-five states, including nearly every state in the Southeast, have reopened hair salons and barber shops in some capacity, Berger says in a new release. Three more have announced re-openings in the next few days.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to reopen the economy continues as one of the most stringent in the country. He said he won’t revisit easing more restrictions until May 22.

“It’s time to follow the lead of the majority of states in our region and the country,” Berger says. “Hair salon owners and employees can’t work, and many of them still can’t get unemployment assistance from the Cooper administration. Cooper needs to provide counties with the flexibility to reopen hair salons and barber shops if they choose.”

Counties should be allowed to reopen the salons and shops provided they adhere to common-sense public health rules similar to those in other states, such as scheduling services by appointment, sending employees home who have COVID-like symptoms, and cleaning and disinfecting equipment after each use.

Cooper has imposed fines and even threatened jail time for businesses that reopen in defiance of his statewide order.

“Governor Cooper can’t have it both ways,” Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, said in a statement. 

“He can’t prohibit people from working and then fail to provide the unemployment assistance that people are due.”