Keep Salons Open

Dear Governor Walz,

I am writing on the behalf of salon owners, cosmetologists, and our clients. I own a salon in a suite setting in the Edina Sola Salon. There are about 30 individual enclosed suites that are owned by cosmetologists running our own businesses. We are working with clients one on one, each wearing PPE at all times. Our clients stay in their vehicles until we personally let them in our locked building. This allows for 100% accurate contact tracing, it avoids crowding, and keeps us below capacity keeping the spread of Coronavirus down. In addition to these precautions we are all required to sanitize all tools and surfaces between each client, and we no longer serve beverages or have magazines available. Our clients simply come in at their specific appointment time, wearing PPE, and leave the moment they are done. Additionally, we have a very strong policy against clients coming to their appointments if they have any COVID symptoms, have had any exposure, or have traveled outside of the country within 14 days. I can personally say, clients take this policy very seriously, especially because our industry is so personal, they do not want to see their stylist have to close down their business because of them. These precautions have worked! In our Sola Salon there have been zero cases of clients and stylists transmitting the virus to one another. Even more impressive, when clients have contacted their stylists saying they've tested positive or been exposed to the virus, stylists have gotten tested and stay home until they receive their results... and the test results have been negative! This, again, proves that the precautions set in place for the cosmetology field is working. I know salons unlike my setting, where we each have our own suite that is enclosed, they are following the same precautions and working at a 50% capacity and they have kept the virus out of their salons too! 
I have confidence that the cosmetology industry is not contributing to the spread of the virus. We are a safe space for people to come. There are 1,000's of people in the beauty industry in Minnesota, and it seems unreasonable to keep us from our livelihood when we are not a real risk. Many cosmetologists are single mothers, leaving households with no income for months hurts those mothers, their children, and the community. We need to stay open, we are a working class industry that depends on every paycheck. Many of us can't afford to pay our mortgages and grocery bills without that paycheck we depend on.
I understand closing down many types of businesses where people are not able to wear PPE at all times or where there are crowds of people. But that is not the environment of a salon, especially a studio salon. We are one on one, wearing PPE at all times. And very easily able to sanitize everything between each client we see and trace contact.
In addition to being detrimental to cosmetologists' financial and emotional well being, allowing people to get their regular beauty services truly does help our mental health! I cannot count the number of people I spoke to that said getting their hair done lifted their spirits in a dramatic way! It is a form of self-care that we can all participate in, and a way to boost Minnesotans' mental health in a long winter ahead.
Please, Governor Walz, do not shut down salons. Please allow my industry to continue to support our families, our clients and our economy.
Thank you for your consideration

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