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'If we don’t work, we don’t get paid': WNY's beauty business now closed to public

They knew it was coming. Several local salon owners knew it was only a matter of time until New York State closed them down in response to Covid-19.

Effective 8 p.m. Saturday and until further notice, all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors and related personal care services will be closed to the public.

Some salon owners had already shuttered their businesses earlier this week. Others were canceling appointments for next week.

Charlene Minx, hairstylist and owner of Salon de Coquette on Connecticut Street, temporarily shuttered her salon at the end of business Tuesday.

“We ended up closing shop. Too close contact with people, some cancellations. I figure it’s only a matter of time before they close salons so better to do our part and close now for the sake of ourselves and the community," Minx wrote in a text message before the executive order was issued.

“Plus, I figure I’m in more close contact to people than my husband’s plumbing business (Pipeworx by Minx) and if I can close and stay healthy now, hopefully less of a chance he’ll get sick, so he can still work and at least we will have one income instead of none,” she said.

Prior to the temporary closing of her salon, she noted all efforts were on sanitizing stations, chairs and everything else in the salon, asking everyone to wash their hands upon arrival, closing the coffee, tea and water bar and other precautionary measures. Clients have been kept updated on the salon’s Facebook page.

Vogue Salon & Day Spa in the Village of Williamsville was open this week, but had alerted customers it would be closing March 22, with a tentative re-opening scheduled for March 31.

The salon sent a text to its clients early Thursday: “To all our loyal clients – Vogue Salon & Day Spa has been carefully monitoring the Covid-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, our salon will be TEMPORARILY closing. We feel that everyone’s health is our #1 priority.”

Voluntarily closing "was a very difficult decision – because of the staff. Financially, if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. We don’t get a weekly paycheck. Our incomes are purely commission, but we don’t want to put people at risk,” Christine Piggot, one of the salon's three owners, said.

For many clients, particularly the regular ones, the salon closure is yet another way their regular routines have been disrupted.

“It’s also very emotional," Piggot said. "For some people this is a big social thing. They look forward to being in this atmosphere.”

To help its clients, Salon Elizabeth in Elma is offering free shipping on its hair and beauty products.

“We love our guests. We want them to have what they need and to help them while they are at home. We want our clients to feel and look fabulous,” owner Lizzy Dugan said in an email.

Lizzy Dugan of Salon Elizabeth in Elma. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

“We are offering free shipping on all retail. We retail an abundance of gray coverage powders, sprays and mascara ... along with color-enhancing shampoo,” she wrote.

“Many become depressed in crisis like this and we are here to help,” said Dugan, who also plans to create videos for stylists teaching bridal styling as well as something for her everyday clients, such as how to cut their bangs at home.

“Something for everyone,” she said.

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