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Rebound Idaho: Can Boise's salons, parlors and barbershops reopen May 16? Mayor McLean says maybe

"We fully anticipate that businesses offering close contact services... will be able to open by June 1, possibly sooner."
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Posted at 5:59 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 19:59:07-04

BOISE, Idaho — In a recent press conference, Idaho Governor Brad Little presented a timetable for reopening Idaho's businesses, including a tentative date of May 16 for salons, parlors, barbershops, and other businesses of that nature.

But when Boise Mayor Lauren McLean enacted a 30-day physical distancing order for the month of May, several confused Idahoans came to Idaho News 6 with questions on whether this would prevent Boise's salons, parlors, barbershops from reopening.

#TheReboundIdaho team is working to get answers for you during this uncertain time.

Here's a snapshot of our recent correspondence with the Mayor's Office:

KIVI: "We aired a short piece on Mayor McLean's social distancing order last night, and viewers have reached out with questions. Specifically, they're asking if it would prevent the opening of salons and other shops that might otherwise open in two weeks, in accordance with the Governor's plan. Could you clarify?"

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean: "Please know that none of the decisions we make are taken lightly. We are balancing public health with the reopening of our economy. We fully anticipate that businesses offering close contact services, such as salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors, will be able to open by June 1, possibly sooner, if we are able to safely move to the state's second stage. The current emergency order for social distancing is for Stage 1 and can be amended if the data suggests we should move to the next stage before the 30 days.

Yesterday, the Governor announced a cash grant for small businesses. If you are a small business owner or sole proprietor, you could be eligible for a $10,000 grant. For example, if the small business is organized as an LLC, or has at least one employee and utilizes independent contractors, it could be eligible for the grant. The guidance is currently in draft form, but should be finalized by May 5. Please find the details here.

KIVI: "You mentioned the goal was to educate rather than enforce.

Hair shops, for example, in the rest of the Gem State will likely open on May 16th, per the Governor's orders. You mentioned shops in Boise won't be able to open in Boise until June 1 or Stage 1's completion -- meaning the clientele for these shops will likely be lost to other Treasure Valley businesses in the interim.

As I'm sure you know, many salon and barbershop owners are in crisis right now. Several have reached out to me personally to tell me it's been seven weeks and they're still waiting on SBA loans or unemployment benefits -- that they might have to close their doors. The governor's grants seem promising, but there's no telling when that money might come in.

So my question is: if barbershops/salons open before Stage 1 is over to save their business from shuttering permanently (in spite of Boise's order) -- and also implement proper physical distancing techniques in the salon (besides the obviously unavoidable contact between stylist and customer), what punishment will they face at the hands of the city? How will this be enforced?"

Mayor McLean: "The City of Boise remains focused on education first and foremost, and is hopeful local businesses will follow the state's phased reopening guidelines and social distancing protocols. However, should a situation warrant, businesses found in violation of the city's Public Health Order could be cited or charged with a misdemeanor."