Northam expected to extend closure of non-essential businesses, but ‘loophole’ still allows at-home services

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — It may be a little longer until your favorite salon or gym re-opens.

During Wednesday’s press conference at 2 p.m. in Richmond, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expected to extend the closure of those non-essential businesses. 

This comes after he ordered them to shut down at the end of March, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The original deadline was set to expire on Thursday, April 23.

Though Gov. Northam’s stay-at-home order closes barber shops and salons, it does allow at-home services from stylists and barbers, as along as they follow health precautions, like washing hands or coughing into a tissue.

Ultimately, the decision is up to the stylist or barber.

However, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, calls this a loophole.

“It’s one of those things that in our country there still is that issue of central government versus the ability and the right of a state to make their own decision. But again I agree with you. When you see things like some of those exemptions, I mean, I can’t make any official proclamations here. But I can say really seriously consider, are those exemptions appropriate when you think about what’s going on? And I urge the people at the leadership of the state level to really take a close look at those kinds of decisions.”

Ebony Gordon, the owner of the Hairista salon in Hampton. She says all 10 stylists she works alongside decided against providing at-home services.

Gordon says it’s just too risky.

“Its not worth it to put myself, or my family at-risk. Same for my clients. As much as I would love to service them. I am just going to hold off on at-home services,” explained Gordon.

She will help clients with a no-contact approach. The group created a “quarantine kit” with shampoo, conditioner, or moisturizer. 

However, Gordon says clients will still ask for service.

“Every few days someone is like, ‘listen can we please make it work? I promise you I have not been around anyone.’ Of course, when you’ve been doing someone’s hair for a longtime its very difficult to have to tell them ‘no.’ I just feel like I have a greater obligation to my family and to myself.”

Gordon says the stylists in Hampton Roads have become even closer during this time. She says she is supportive of stylists and barbers providing services to make ends meet.

Northam says the virus is slowing down with social distancing precautions, but those restrictions will likely have to be extended past the June 10 stay-at-home order deadline to avoid a future spike in cases. It’s unclear if the non-essential business closure will extend as far, or past, the June 10 stay-at-home deadline.

10 On Your Side reached out to the governor’s office for response on this story. After our story aired Wednesday morning, we received a brief response from Marissa Astor, Assistant Communications Director for the Governors Office.

“Virginia has based its business closures on the feasibility of adhering to social distancing guidelines. We can’t keep people from inviting someone into their home, but we are urging everyone to practice strict social distancing and stay at home unless it is necessary to leave.”

Stay with WAVY.com as this story develops.

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