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Gov. Cooper cuts restrictions but not all salons are willing to trim theirs

Thursday marks one year since places like salons were shut down due to COVID-19. On Friday, they can open to full capacity, but some say they won't.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is cutting restrictions, but some salons and barbers in the Charlotte area aren't willing to trim safeguards in their businesses.

After 5 p.m. on Friday, barbershops and salons, along with other businesses like retail shops, can open their stores at 100% capacity. Some owners are thankful for the freedom but aren't ready to take advantage of it. 

RELATED: Gov. Cooper eases COVID-19 restrictions; mask mandate and social distancing still remains

For the last year, the places where you get your haircut have been some of the hardest hit, thanks to restrictions put in place to keep COVID-19 from spreading. 

"Oh wow, this past year has been so hard," Cara Viers, the owner of five Salon 42 locations around Charlotte, said.

Business is anything but usual at the Salon 42 locations. Viers said she's currently running her salons at 50% capacity in accordance with the executive order that will be in place until Friday evening. 

"We've had to put up dividers between stations, we've had to spread people out," she explained. 

Starting Friday, she could technically increase her capacity to 100% inside her salons, still keeping everyone six feet apart.

"I thought to myself, 'Oh wow, there's hope,' and I'm excited about that part," Viers said as she recollected how she felt when she heard Cooper's announcements on rolling back restrictions. 

However, she won't rush to fully open her salons although it will be allowed. 

"One-hundred percent not at 100% capacity," Viers said. "There's just no way around it. There's no way to keep everybody at that level of safety that quickly."

She knows some of her clients are comfortable coming back, but others are more cautious. 

"How do we continue to provide for the community and for everybody that joins us in a safe way, because it's (COVID-19) not gone," she explained. "We're just at a different stage."

It's why permanent dividers will continue to stay up at her salons, masks will be required, hand sanitizer will be offered, social distancing will be enforced, and constant cleaning will still be taking place. 

"While I appreciate numbers are declining, we still want to provide an environment where everybody can stay, and feel, and be in a place where they feel protected and safe," Viers said. 

The decision does give her hope for better days as she believes she could slowly bring more people into her salons. 

The looser restrictions are also giving hope to No Grease Mosaic Village in the Historic West End neighborhood of Charlotte. 

"We're excited about the restrictions being lifted," owner David Powell said. 

However, he's also not ready to move past the safeguards put in place. 

"We're still just going to act as if we're still under restrictions," he said. 

His chairs are at least six feet apart, so he can fit more people in, but he's still staggering appointments and has the space to keep people far apart. 

He understands some of his clients are still cautious about the virus as well. 

"It's getting us closer to whatever our new normal is going to be," he said reacting to the new executive order. 


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