Hopkins County Commissioners today passed a declaration stating hair salons and gyms could re-open under strict guidelines. However, many salon owners are voicing their concerns stating their license comes from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation who has not authorized re-opening.
On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to begin reopening the State and its businesses, however, Hopkins County Commissioner’s Court has made their own variations amidst the strict orders from the State Government to only open certain businesses.
Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom addressed a full courtroom on Tuesday morning, stating he had “been up much of the night, concerned for our citizens,” regarding what decision the county might reach—thus opting alongside the county’s commissioners to reopen salons and gyms with tight restrictions.
“There have sadly been victims in this epidemic… and in our county, a lot of the victims have been the least of these,” Newsom stated. “In government, we forget about the paycheck-to-paycheck. We have a guaranteed paycheck. It’s a danger to us that we become immune to our own citizens.”
This declaration states that salons can operate providing their doors are locked to the public, that they do business by appointment only, have fewer than 10 employees inside, and they sanitize between each use, among other provisions.
But while it appears that the local government is doing what they can to reopen small businesses that have been struck down financially due to the shutdown, many salon owners are taking to social media saying they won’t risk their licenses and go against State recommendations.
Amongst the hundreds of comments that have begun to flood social media, many are seriously worried over potential backlash.
“Be careful TDLR (Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation) and the governor in his new orders yesterday stated for salons, gyms to remain closed and that a local government can’t overrule these new orders. And I would love to be able to be back at work, but that $100 appointment won’t pay the fines I could receive or the chance of risking my license,” warned one Facebook user.
Another added, “Please understand this means absolutely NOTHING to your stylist!! Yes, it’s a move towards opening; however, we still need TDLR to give us the go-ahead!! They are in control of our license and regulations. We can’t afford the fine’s nor risks of losing our license until they say so.”
The TDLR has warned city proclamations not to supersede Gov. Abbott’s executive orders. They are further adding that those who neglect to stay closed could face severe consequences. Additionally, should a business such as cosmetology, barbershop, gym, or hair salon, to name a few open, there wouldn’t be anything local officials could do to stop any potential fines or permanent shut down.
For Hopkins County officials, they are saying they are operating under the Federal guidelines, which should be held above state guidelines, thus, not breaking any laws or specific reopening guidelines.
“I think we would fall under what the national guidelines are for reopening,” County Attorney Dusty Rabe advised the court. “There are inconsistencies between the national and the state… it [national] recommendations said gyms would open phase I, but in Texas, our phase I didn’t include the gyms.”
It is yet to be addressed by the Gov., any further as to the definitive line of what local governments can interpret between state and federal recommendations to reopen.