Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to reopen West Virginia businesses began its second phase on Monday, May 4, as small businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown may now reopen under certain conditions.
Under Week 2 guidelines, state businesses with fewer than 10 employees may resume operations, as long as they employ strict physical distancing measures, face coverings, and increased on-site sanitation.
Outdoor dining at restaurants is now allowed.
Churches and funeral homes are beginning to schedule services.
And it’s okay to get a haircut.
Professional services, such as barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, and pet grooming facilities reopen Monday, too.
No walk-in services are permitted, though. Appointments only. Upon arrival, customers must wait in their vehicles until notified to enter the establishment.
At LuLu’s Salon & Bridal in downtown Fairmont, owner Oliva Phillips opened the door to her new establishment on March 5, only to see all business across the state closed on March 17 at midnight. Including hers.
“It was heart-breaking. I’m only 25 and it’s my first business, but I’d spent hours and hours, night and nights, trying to get everything ready for our opening,” said Phillips.
“To work only a week and a half and get shut down was not fun.”
LuLu’s will have a new grand opening with the reopening of statewide businesses, but some things will be different for a while.
“We’re all wearing masks. We’re encouraging our clients to wear masks, but it’s not a rule. But we’re hoping they’ll want to protect everybody and they’ll wear one, too,” Phillips said.
The 325 Adams Street salon is comprised of “four Fairmont girls,” said Phillips, consisting of herself, Andrew Shelosky, Emily McKinley, and Talia Parker.
“We’re six weeks behind in haircuts,” said Shelosky, a stylist. “We’re going to have to work extra days for the next several weeks to accommodate everybody.”
Each salon must have no more than 10 people total inside at a given time. In between customers, a sanitation routine that takes 15 minutes must be completed.
McKinley, a cosmetologist, worked at LuLu’s for one day before the shutdown.
“I had one person in my chair. The governor shut down the state right in the middle of her service,” said McKinley.
She said she made the most of her forced unemployment, though, “watching lots of hair videos” at home.
Last week, during Week 1 of the reopening plan, hospitals were allowed to resume elective procedures. Medical facilities including primary care, physical therapy, psychological therapy, and dental offices reopened.
Beginning on May 11 with the start of Week 3, office buildings, government buildings, retail stores, specialty stores, dine-inside restaurants, parks, gyms, fitness centers, casinos, and more will reopen.
There remains no timetable to reopen entertainment venues such as movie theaters, sporting events, and concerts. There is no permitted visitation at nursing homes.
All reopenings may be slowed, stopped or reversed should West Virginia’s positive COVID-19 cases surges above the 3%, according to the governor’s report.
An unexpected increase in COVID-19 positive hospitalizations or significant outbreaks of community-based transmission may also influence the reopening process, it said.