‘It’s been really challenging’: Salon owner concerned about employees as COVID-19 crisis drags on

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s now been a month since all close-contact businesses like hair salons were ordered closed by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza in response to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

John Sepe, owner of Impulse Hair Designs in The Arcade, told Eyewitness News the last few weeks have been “really challenging.”

“At first, we really weren’t sure what was happening because everything seemed to be changing daily,” he said Wednesday. “But now that it is going on a little longer, tension is getting a little higher.”

We’ve seen those tensions playing out in protests around the country. Sepe said he’s not quite at that point yet but time is running out.

“It is starting to take its toll on us, now that the weeks are going on,” he added.

Sepe said he’s worried about his employees, who are subcontracted and have yet to receive unemployment. The business itself has enough saved to pay the bills for now.

This all comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells the Washington Post that a second wave of COVID-19 could hit in the fall.

On Tuesday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she hears the concerns of business owners like Sepe and is working to develop a reopening plan, which will still involve some degree of restrictions.

“There’s going to have to be some version of social distancing for the next year,” she said.

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