Gov. Tim Walz extended Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08, regarding the closure of gyms, spas, salons, tattoo parlors, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, golf clubs, cafes and other “places of public accommodation,” from March 27 to May 1 at 5 p.m. What business owners thought was going to be nine days of closure has become 44 days.
On March 23, Walz passed Executive Order 20-15, meant to soften the blow the closures have had on small businesses by launching an emergency loan program for small businesses affected by closures and who need immediate help. Business owners can get loans between $2,500 - $35,000 but this might not help stylists who have been affected. “With the exception for applying for a low interest loan, as of now there is no financial relief, assistance, or unemployment available for salon owners or independent contractors aka ‘booth renters.’ So many individuals in our salon community fall under those two categories.” says Lauren Carlson, owner of 715 Hot Heads in Fergus Falls.
Many local beauty parlors, salons and barbershops are trying to keep business active by selling products for delivery or pickup and encouraging the purchase of gift cards. On their Facebook page, Fergus Falls-based Salon Eclips wrote, “Our industry is more than providing a spa service, it’s relationships built through trust and love. Even though we are temporarily closed for all services, we will start providing limited hours to purchase your hair care products.” They will be taking preorders by Facebook Messenger or phone call during the hours they’re available and will only be taking credit card or checks, no cash.
Salon Tru & Day Spa in Fergus Falls is also selling products through their Facebook page.
“On the first day of our shutdown we had inquiries regarding gift certificate sales in an attempt from the community to keep us afloat,” says Carlson. “We also offer curbside drop off for not only our hair products, but our skincare and makeup line as well.”
Carlson worries for her staff who come primarily from single-income families. “I will never forget the day that I handed the laptop to the salon manager with tears streaming down my cheeks and asked her to personally file for unemployment,” she said. “A part of me will forever be changed after that day.”
Buying gift cards is one way to support local businesses through the shutdown. Many salons are also providing hair care and beauty tips on their Facebook pages. 715 Hot Heads is also giving information on other businesses in the community, including how to support local breweries and which restaurants are offering to-go, delivery or drive-thru options.