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Local beauty shops open for business despite Gov. Little’s orders

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IDAHO FALLS — Despite Gov. Brad Little’s orders requiring beauty shops to remain closed until he says otherwise, some of them are open.

Little said last Thursday hair salons would open in the second stage of his four-stage plan if all goes well, which would be May 16 to 29. But Tyler Price, who owns Austin Kade Academy beauty school and a barbershop in Ammon called Lyle Amado, has had his shop open since April 22.

RELATED | Little sets 4-stage plan to reopen Idaho businesses over 2 months by end of June

“Gov. Little has a policy now, apparently to lead by fear and intimidation, bullying, shaming. … and I don’t live my life with guilt or fear,” Price told EastIdahoNews.com. “I try to be someone that is going to put great policy and procedure in place because the public needs to be protected, the staff needs to be protected. But to not allow people to make money just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Lyle Amado has 14 stations and 11 employees. Price said right now, five to seven workers provide hair services at any given time.

Hours of operation are usually 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but Price said staff have been working by appointments only. During the week that they’ve been open, he said they’ve been busy.

“If we get new business, he (Little) wants everyone out there that’s working in the beauty space right now that’s too afraid to work because they’re afraid their license is going to be revoked, he wants those people mad at us,” Price said.

The Frequently Asked Questions section on the state website says, “If you believe someone is violating the Stay at Home order, report it to the local authorities. That may be city police, county sheriff, or Idaho State Police depending on the circumstances. The Governor, the Department of Health & Welfare, and the Attorney General’s Office do not have enforcement authority under the statutes authorizing the order or under the order itself.”

In an email obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses Board Specialist Allegra Earl added to that statement.

“Likewise, the Board does not have enforcement authority, but licensees who violate the order may be subject to discipline pursuant to Idaho Code 54-5823,” Earl said.

One salon owner hopes the industry never finds itself in this situation again.

“Public safety is our main concern whether some of us are open now or some of us are choosing to abide by the order. I feel like we should all be professional in our choices and do the right thing whatever that may be. Unfortunately, it’s caused a divide in our industry and the salons in our community,” said Liz Ritchie, owner of Éternité Salon in Idaho Falls, which remains closed. “I truly hope moving forward, we can come together to put a plan in place so we never have to be in this position again.”

Price said at Lyle Amado, they’re continuing with regular practices, such as sanitizing tools between appointments and cleaning stations. Workers are also asking three questions when customers arrive:

  1. To your knowledge, have you been exposed to COVID-19?
  2. In the past 14 days, have you had a fever or cough?
  3. Are you waiting for your own test results for COVID-19?

“If they can say no to all those, we give them some sanitizer, and then they come to the station that’s already been sanitized. The barber is wearing a mask and also has to sanitize their hands between appointments, and then they’re able to go ahead and perform the service,” Price said.

Janine Calderwood moved to Idaho this week from Salt Lake City because the lash lounge she worked at was shut down eight weeks ago. She plans to partner with Price to open a lash lounge in Idaho Falls soon.

Calderwood believes the shutdown has more to do with something else, rather than the actual virus.

“Trump has arrested thousands of human traffickers. It just seems like this is for that. He had to get everything shut down so he could take care of that. He’s doing this all right before election time for numbers,” she said. “We’re in a rural area, and our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. Perhaps the governor just wants to get the funding for it.”

Crissy Kerbs, owner of Makeup by Crissy, a permanent makeup shop in St. Anthony, is taking appointments for people who are healthy. As far as safety protocol goes, Kerbs said she isn’t doing anything different now. Even before COVID-19, she had to follow certain safety measures so she didn’t contract diseases and viruses such as hepatitis and HIV from her clients.

“I’m going to continue to keep encouraging the governor to look at our industry as that we need to be essential. We can’t keep everybody waiting anymore that’s wanting to help provide for themselves,” she said. “These guys don’t want to be taken care of by the government. They don’t want to wait for unemployment. Our industry needs to be able to work and to provide for their families.”

Price said if people have compromised immune systems or are afraid to be out, they should stay home, but those who don’t fall in those categories should be able to go about their lives.

“We’re trying to take precautions to this as best as we can. And it’s not 100%. We’re not saying that it is. We’re just saying that the government has overstepped their bounds,” Price said. “We’re doing our part, and we’re getting back to business.”

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