RI spas to remain closed in Phase 2; one owner in no rush to reopen

Business News

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) ─ In the age of social distancing, haircuts, manicures and other close-contact services will all eventually resume under new restrictions.

In Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo said Phase 2 of her plan to reopen the state’s economy is a go for June 1, though the guidelines are still being finalized.

Raimondo said hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen during that phase, but other businesses in the beauty industry are asked to remain closed for the time being.

“If you can do the service with the technician and the customer keeping their masks on, you can do the service,” Matt Scheaf of the R.I. Commerce Corporation said. “So that means something like a facial would not be allowed.”

List: What’s open right now in Rhode Island and Massachusetts »

Spa owner Alayne White tells Eyewitness News the state made the right call, adding that businesses like hers are still months away from safely reopening.

“If it were totally up to me, and I know this isn’t a popular answer, but I wouldn’t let the facial business open until September,” she said.

Working with customers in extremely close quarters will come with inherent safety risks for White’s business, which is why she’s wary about reopening.

“It’s the safety piece for my employees,” she said. “I’m really concerned for my employees, and they’re concerned.”

White said if the state were to implement safety measures similar to the ones they’re considering for hair salons and barbershops, her business wouldn’t be able to provide what her customers expect.

“Clients need to get the service they are paying for and I don’t know if I can provide that service at the level our clients are used to,” she said. “That’s really worrisome to me and it breaks my heart.”

White said she’s been in contact with the R.I. Department of Health regarding the outlook for her business and adjustments that will need to be made moving forward.

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