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Easthampton orders hair salons, tattoo parlors to close for 2 weeks

  • Josh Suchoza, owner-operator of The Black Labyrinth Tattoo Syndicate stands outside his shop in Easthampton, Thursday. He made the decision to close his shop on Saturday because of coronavirus concerns. STAFF PHOTO/Bera Dunau

  • Josh Suchoza, owner-operator of The Black Labyrinth Tattoo Syndicate stands outside his shop in Easthampton, Thursday. He made the decision to close his shop on Saturday because of coronavirus concerns. STAFF PHOTO/Bera Dunau

  • The Black Labyrinth Tattoo Syndicate in Easthampton closed last week. Thursday saw an announcement from the city’s Board of Health that body art and other categories of establishments would need to close from March 23 through April 5 due to coronavirus concerns. STAFF PHOTO/Bera Dunau

Staff Writer
Published: 3/19/2020 8:41:07 PM
Modified: 3/19/2020 8:40:57 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The Board of Health has ordered barber shops, beauty salons, body art establishments and a number of other businesses in the city to shut down temporarily to stem the spread of a novel coronavirus.

“It does put a hardship on local business,” said Maggie Hebert, chairwoman of the city’s Board of Health. “I’m hoping that people understand this is for the safety of our vulnerable population.”

The order, which Hebert gave Thursday, calls for hair salons, esthetic salons, spas, nail salons, barber shops, massage therapy establishments, and body art establishments to suspend operations from March 23 through April 5.

The order also states that it will be re-evaluated in two weeks, and may be extended.

Hebert said that this was done because one can’t keep people 6 feet apart in these types of businesses. This has been recommended as a key measure to stop the transmission of the virus,

“This is a crisis situation,” said Hebert. “We have to do as much as we can.”

Hebert said the city’s order gives the businesses time to notify customers and deal with employees.

This is the first time the Board of Health has ordered the closure of a business category in response to the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness. However, the governor has already forbidden restaurants from offering sit-down service and ordered the closure of all early education centers and family child care providers.

Brianna Eichstaedt, the city’s health agent, was consulted about the shutdowns and supports them.

“Social distancing is impossible (in these businesses),” she said. “We’re really trying to help in stopping the spread.”

She also said that it seems like most of the businesses of this type in the city have decided to close their doors already, and she doesn’t expect pushback.

One of the establishments still open in Easthampton that will be affected by the suspension is To Dye For. hair salon, on Northampton Street.

“I understand the precautions,” said Meg Brzezinski, a stylist who works out of the hair salon. “But it does hurt the self-employed.

“I will be struggling for two weeks without pay,” she said.

Brzezinski noted that the salon always has fewer than 10 people in it, and that she and the owner, the only two people who work there, are careful to wipe down door handles and surfaces.

Josh Suchoza, the owner-operator of The Black Labyrinth Tattoo Syndicate, said he made the decision to close his shop on Saturday because of coronavirus concerns. He called the move “the responsible thing to do.”

“It’s a little bit bigger than all of us individually,” he said.

Suchoza said while the decision was financially hard, he wanted to make sure both his clients and staff were safe, noting that an important part of tattooing is keeping clients safe from infections.

As for social distancing and tattooing: “You can’t tattoo someone from 6 feet away.”

Suchoza said he thinks the Board of Health made the right decision in ordering the shutdowns, and he said he’d like to see establishments close even before Monday.

He noted that people can support artists by buying gift certificates and artwork online, and that when businesses open up again, they’ll need the public to support them.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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