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Richmond Hair Salons on Standby as City Debates Reopening

Equipment at Silk Hair Studio
Chairs and equipment at Silk Hair Studio are covered up while the salon remains closed due to the pandemic. (Photo: David Streever/VPM News)

*VPM News intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reported this story.

As Richmond debates when to reopen, local hair salons are exploring how to move forward in the safest way possible.

Today, Mayor Levar Stoney formally requested a delay of the phase one reopening for Richmond. Phase one allows salons to operate with several restrictions, including appointment only, protective gear, and social distancing for customers, starting Friday.

Kim Washington owns Silk Hair Studio on Broad Street. She says her hair salon is ready for a soft opening when the city is ready, with a reduced staff seeing only half the usual number of clients. The salon will also check customers’ temperature upon arrival.

“I’m ready to get back to work,” Washington said. “This is like a second family to us. I enjoy the clients’ company, and they enjoy talking and communicating with each other.”

While the timeline for reopening the city is still unclear, Lenise Robinson, the owner of Parlour in Carytown, says she won’t open her salon before June. Safety was her primary concern, and she points to health disparities in Richmond as a deciding factor.

“It’s definitely impacting us differently, and these businesses that are reopening, these are places where black and brown people frequent or are employees,” Robinson said. 

In his request to the governor, Stoney cited the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Black and Latino Richmonders as a reason to delay reopening the city. 

The surrounding localities of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico have expressed interest in moving forward with reopening certain businesses, including salons and barber shops.

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