There will be strict guidelines for hair salons and restaurants that could change forever how we get our hair done and dine out, according to state guidance issued late Friday.

Gov. Ned Lamont and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman said the guidance released late Friday night was produced in consultation with industry groups, organized labor and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“The occupancy of these businesses is just going to be less as we get started here,” Lehman said.

He said people should expect to see less crowded retail and less crowded restaurants until there is a coronavirus vaccine.

He said he doesn’t know how many of the more than 480,000 unemployed Connecticut residents will be headed back to work on May 20 when the reopening begins.

Despite a previous announcement that nail salons would be part of the first phase of reopening, Lamont said Friday that they decided against allowing nail salons to open in the first wave of businesses.

When it comes to hair salons, there will be no blow-drying of hair allowed in salons, but Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said she doesn’t believe people are going to mind.

“Hey, you can color and there’s a lot of us that would really like that part,” Bysiewicz said. “And you can cut.”

If the chairs in a salon can’t be moved six feet, owners can put a physical partition between the stations. Salons must also disinfect the shampoo bowls between customers and allow disinfectants to soak in the bowl for 10 minutes before scrubbing down the bowl and faucets/nozzles.

They must also remove all magazines from the waiting area and any water coolers and coffee makers. Also, customers must bring all their belongings with them instead of leaving them in a coat room.

Salons should also ask customers to wait in cars until their appointment time and close waiting rooms.

Malls will be part of the retail locations allowed to reopen on May 20, subject to the guidelines, Lehman said. 

As far as restaurants are concerned, only those with the ability to serve customers outdoors will be allowed to reopen.

The Connecticut Restaurant Association doesn’t oppose the move, but it says that’s not enough to save many restaurants from permanently closing because they don’t have outdoor seating.

“This plan would keep the inside of restaurants closed at the same time other industries are opening up, even those who also serve customers indoors. Our local restaurant industry knows that things cannot return to normal right away, but as malls and hair salons and others are allowed to gradually begin indoor service, as they should be, it’s illogical that restaurants would be constricted to outdoor-only service for so long,” Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said. “And while it’s true that a mask must be removed to eat, it’s also true that in a restaurant, patrons stay in one place for almost their entire visit as opposed to browsing or circulating about, and that the area they use is cleaned and sanitized after every use.”

Lehman said the guidance for restaurants was different due to the type of interaction that’s involved. He said in a restaurant people are going to have to take off their mask to eat and that interaction is longer than in retail locations so the guidance was different.

Cloth masks will still be required in all work spaces and in public. However, workers over the age of 65 who have health conditions that could make COVID-19 deadly should plan to continue to stay home. Those who are working from home are encouraged to continue to do.

Anyone who doesn’t believe it’s safe for them to return to the job, even if their employer reopens, would continue to be able to receive unemployment benefits, according to Lamont.

“My answer to that is yes,” Lamont said. “As you saw from the CDC guidelines we got from Washington as well as our own guidelines that vulnerable population over 65, comorbidities, they should not be going back to work for the near-term.”

Every public-facing business that reopens will need to be certified by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Once they “self-attest” to the rules on the DECD website, they will receive a Reopen CT badge. Once complete, businesses can choose to post the badge on-site and on social media to advertise adherence to Connecticut rules and build customer confidence.

Local public health and municipal leaders will need to help monitor compliance, Lehman said.

“I think we are going to need local help in terms of enforcement,” Lehman said.

CT COVID-19 Briefing: 4 p.m., May 8

Gov. Ned Lamont, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, and DECD Commissioner David Lehman provided a bunch of industry-specific information during today’s briefing, related to the first phase of the plan to re-open Connecticut.

A lot of the businesses that will eventually be able to re-open are going to need to use a lot of precautions and distancing, etc.

Watch the video and listen for follow-up questions from reporters – a lot of answers were helpful.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Friday, May 8, 2020