BALTIMORE — A Baltimore City hair salon owner says she is “hesitant” about reopening, but has no choice in order to save her business.
On Friday, Mayor Jack Young announced the city will move into phase one of the state’s recovery plan on Monday.
It allows barbershops and hair salons to open with restrictions, which include by appointment only and no more than 5 people allowed inside.
“I’m happy, but I’m still afraid in a way,” said Connie Carey, who owns Affordable Styles Hair Salon. “Because I’m worried. If the numbers grow, I don’t want to put myself in danger.”
Like many business owners, the pandemic has taken a toll on Carey’s business.
She has not received any assistance because her loan applications have been denied. She said she also can’t get unemployment because she’s a teacher.
Carey, who used to have two employees before the pandemic, is now working by herself.
The financial burden the pandemic has placed upon her shoulders will force her to open Monday despite her concerns over the virus.
“I’m a little hesitant, but again, I won’t have a business if I don’t reopen,” she said.
Back in April, the state allowed barbershops and hair salons to partially open for essential employees, which prepared Carey for the day she would be allowed to reopen.
She said she has put several safety measures in place to protect herself and her customers. She requires all customers to wear masks. She also wears a mask, along with a face shield.
Carey said she thoroughly cleans the salon as well. But, she says when she opens to everyone she might have to take it a step further.
“I’m considering checking temperatures, asking them have they been out of the country, have they been certain places. Are they sick? Just asking certain questions to make sure I’m protected,” Carey said.
Carey's concerns describe the difficult decisions of a business owner operating during a pandemic, where they have to choose between protecting their health and saving their business. But, she said it’s a risk that she has to take.
“I have to pray about it and stay positive wear my mask, wear my shield and do what I have to do to reopen,” she said.