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Personal care business owners in Michigan react, prepare to reopen

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – It’s the announcement many have been waiting for from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, hair and nail salons, gyms and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen in the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City regions starting June 10. Some other personal touch businesses can reopen statewide starting June 15.

Whitmer also apologized to salon owners who were offended after she said Michiganders should google how to cut hair.

READ: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer apologizes for comment that offended hair salon owners

“I know that some of my comments, the other day about googling, were taken as not in the way that i intended and I apologize for that,” Whitmer said in her Friday morning briefing.

The comment sparking anger from hairstylists and barbers. Some saying today, despite the apology they wouldn’t book Whitmer for an appointment in their salon if she asked.

“Being closed this whole time, without knowing when we could open, was a nightmare. With this advanced notice, salons and barber shops across the state can put safety measures in place to protect our clients and hit the ground running on opening day,” said Rachel Harned, of Holland, with the Safe Salon for Michigan group said.

The group had been lobbying Whitmer’s office with an 8-point plan on how personal care businesses should reopen and commended her announcement Friday.

READ: Michigan barber shops, salons unveil 8-step reopening plan, urge Gov. Whitmer to lift ban

For many, the announcement is a light at the end of the tunnel. In St. Claire Shores, salon owner Lisa Shotko said her phone hasn't stopped ringing.

“Calling and texting, I can’t keep up. She said. “I have over a couple hundred clients. They're poppin’ off fast.”

Shotko has been collecting supplies and restructuring her salon for weeks, in hopes of being ready to open and be prepared for the influx of customers.

“We're real good on our sanitation. We're going to be checking our clients from the time they hit the door. So it's going to be strict for a while,” Shotko said.

Not on the list on the 15th are gyms and fitness centers. They will be allowed to reopen along with movie theaters, outdoor concert venues and sporting venues. The Governor said today it could be several more weeks before they could reopen statewide.

“It's kind of been a roller coaster ride emotionally, you know?” said Founder of Detroit Body Garage Terra Castro. Castro is among the minority of gym owners who has supported the governor's stay at home her 6-phase reopening plan several weeks ago. That lawsuit is still ongoing.

Castro added she and other gym owners have had to navigate the pandemic by moving classes to online videos or socially distant outdoor classes, which she said she’ll begin June 8.

Inside, she said she’s already begun planning how to make sure those classes are lower risk too. She said it will likely mean cutting class sizes in half and enforcing sanitation at each station to ease fears of both trainers and clients.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of nervousness about COVID-19, just like what safe what isn’t safe,” she said.

Whitmer’s executive order also includes allowing gatherings of up to 50 people indoors, or 25 percent capacity, whichever is smaller. It allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people. Outdoor concert and sporting event venues up to 500 people can also reopen, as long as social distance guidelines are followed.


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