Non-essential business owners react to extended shutdown in Virginia


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Non-essential businesses have struggled for months with the shutdowns due to the novel coronavirus. But in Virginia, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The light was May 8, when Gov. Ralph Northam’s order on closing some non-essential businesses was set to expire.

“I was extremely hopeful that May 8 was going to happen,” said Kevin Davis, owner of Salon Fringe. “Especially after [the governor] started elective surgeries and non-emergency dental. I was … confident that May 8 was going to happen.”

May 8 openings are now not going to happen.

On Monday, Northam extended the shutdown order another week. This is the third extension of the shutdowns. The first was April 23, then May 8, and now May 14.

“It hurt just because mentally I knew I was coming back to work this Friday,” said Davis. “Then knowing how the clients were going to feel getting that phone call from me that ‘I’m sorry we have to move your appointment again.’ It is emotional.”

Salon Fringe, located in downtown Norfolk, was almost completely booked from May 8 to the end of June. Davis and his receptionist spent all day Tuesday calling clients and moving appointments yet again.

Davis says it’s a blow, but he understands.

“If it’s what’s going to keep my clients safe and my staff safe then this is what we have to do,” Davis said.

Salon Fringe has a plan for when they do re-open.

Staff will wear face masks and gloves at all times. Temperatures will be taken at the door for both staff and clients. Also, an extra 15 minutes will be added to every appointment to allow time for complete sanitation of a station.

Davis says the business is doing OK financially. They typically pay rent a couple of months ahead and have a local accountant who tightly manages the books. They also just received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government.

Emotionally, though, it’s been a tough few months. Especially for many stylists who are social by nature.

“I can’t wait until I can stand behind a chair and have a normal conversation with a client,” said Davis. “I’m ready for life to get back to what the new normal will be.”

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