Salons Prepare For Possible Reopening Under Governor's 'Phase 2' Restrictions

May 12, 2020

During "Phase 1" of reopening, many retail businesses in North Carolina have been able to open back up, but under reduced capacity.  So-called "personal care" businesses remain shuttered -- like salons, gyms, and barber shops.   

BPR spoke with the owners of an Asheville nail salon about how they’ve been coping.   

Husband and wife team Thang and Chevelle Chu are the proud owners of American Nails AVL. They opened their salon off Patton Avenue in November last year and quickly established a following of faithful clients. 

“For a lot of people it’s a luxury thing, they get away from their family and just them, like me time," Thang Chu said.  "We’re a less expensive therapist," Chevelle Chu added, with a laugh.

But when the stay at home order took effect in mid-March, they -- like all hair salons, spas, and gyms -- had to close their doors. Thang Chu says in the time since, he’s continued paying more than $2,000 in rent. 

“My business is struggling. We’re brand new. On top of that we haven’t gotten our PPP loan,” Chu said. 

The Chus say they’ve been able to get by, but they are worried about their six employees, the majority of whom are Vietnamese-American. None of their staff has received their unemployment checks. 

“North Carolina’s doing everything it can to protect its citizens, but on the small business side, you almost feel left out, forgotten,” Chevelle Chu said.  

That’s why they’re eager to reopen the salon by the end of the month, should North Carolina move into Phase 2 of the governor’s three-phase reopening plan. The Chus say it won’t be business as usual, though. They plan on requiring customers to wear a mask and to sanitize their hands before selecting a nail polish. They also won’t take walk-ins and will space out appointments to allow for employees to sanitize their workstations.