Preble County Health Commissioner among members of DeWine’s salon advisory group

Local News

EATON, Ohio (WDTN) – A group of health experts and business owners has submitted recommendations to Governor DeWine on reopening salons, barber shops, and tanning facilities. One of the group’s members is the Preble County Health Commissioner.

Chelsea Sorrell says she’s had a difficult few weeks, faced with paying the bills at home and for her Eaton business Prodigy Salon and Spa. She says she and the workers there, all independent contractors, have been unable to collect unemployment benefits.

“Most of us have kids. We want to protect our loved ones back home, and we want to protect our clients, too,” she said.

Sorrell reached out to the Preble County Health Commissioner, Erik Balster, after finding out he was appointed to the governor’s salon advisory board.

“They have quite a bit of regulation as it is as far as cleanliness and sanitation practices, so thankfully a lot of this stuff is actually baked in the cake,” he said.

While Balster acknowledges social distancing isn’t always possible in a salon or barbershop, he says the advisory board has submitted several recommendations to the governor to mitigate risks.

Those ideas include operating at 50 percent capacity to space apart active work stations, having customers wait outside for their appointment, and requiring masks for employees – but not necessarily customers.

“All the industry people brought it up as well. With an ear loop or something on your ears, that can make cutting hair dangerous or potentially difficult,” said Balster.

Sorrell adds, “We might have to create two different shifts. Five stylists may be able to work one day, five stylists may have to work the other. And no, is it ideal? No. But we’re ready to get back and we’re going to do it safely.”

While no official dates have been set for reopening, DeWine could announce a decision as soon as Thursday.

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