The revenge of the... hair stylists?

The revenge of the... hair stylists?

Some Connecticut residents are clearly unhappy with Governor Ned Lamont’s shutdown order and reopening plan for their state. Or, at least in the case of most hair stylists, lack of a reopening plan. Lamont’s recently revised outline will have hair and nail salon workers and barbershops cooling their heels for considerably longer, and many people in that particular line of work are fed up with him. Today they took to the streets in New Haven in large numbers to make their voices heard. (WTNH News 8)

More than a hundred hair salon owners and workers took to the streets of New Haven Tuesday to protest Governor Ned Lamont’s decision to push back their opening to June 1.

Unlike Monday’s protesters, these owners say they are ready to open Wednesday, as planned.

They want to be preparing their shops to open Wednesday. Instead, they are crowding the sidewalk in front of New Haven’s Skull & Combs.

“A lot of us here today did what was necessary and what was called on us to do,” said Skull & Combs owner Jason Bunce. “The rug just got pulled out from underneath us.”

Here’s some video of the protest provided via Twitter.

This may be a lesson in the need for decisiveness more than anything else. As it turns out, Lamont had previously issued an order that would have allowed the salons to open up tomorrow. Then, yesterday, a caravan of cars full of other salon workers had come to protest, saying that the proposed opening date was too soon and they weren’t ready. Lamont apparently caved to their demands and pushed the opening date back by 11 days to June 1st.

That’s sparked today’s protest. These salon owners are saying that they already went out and spent thousands of dollars to upgrade their shops, getting them ready to open up under the state’s new social distancing rules. Now they have to sit on their heels and can’t make any of that money back. One barbershop owner who said he spent more than $4,000 dollars on new equipment is quoted as saying, “All the hard work we put in place is down the drain, and now those bills are coming due of all the money I spent.”

Governor Lamont has nobody but himself to blame here because today’s protesters are making exactly the right point. If the state had determined that tomorrow was the correct date when it would be safe for them to reopen and the reason was based on the current pandemic conditions, it didn’t become less safe to open just because some people protested that they weren’t ready. It’s either safe to reopen while following the new rules or it isn’t.

And besides, just giving businesses permission to reopen is not an order saying that they have to reopen. (Although it might be hard to tell these days, what with all of the executive orders flying around telling private businesses what they can or can’t do.) The ones who had done the preparations and were ready could have opened tomorrow and the others could continue with their preparations and open as soon as they were ready.

All that Lamont has managed to accomplish here is to make everyone on both sides of the debate mad at him. And he’s come off looking feckless and indecisive to boot. The Governor might want to think this over for a while and perhaps lay low. You don’t want to anger all of the barbers and hairstylists in the state. They all tend to carry around razors and scissors. Oh, and he should probably skip going out for a shave for a while.

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David Strom 3:31 PM on March 27, 2023