Mayor urges governor to allow Orange County to reopen salons, barbershops

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings sent a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hoping to convince the state to allow salons and barbershops to reopen with restrictions.

The businesses are not included in phase one of the state’s reopening plan, which starts Monday. The Task Force on Economic Recovery met Friday to finalize its recommendations for reopening and getting back to business, and members said they think the government got it wrong not opening salons as well.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down personal services in the state, barbershops and hair salons have only been allowed to sell what’s on their shelves. And owners say that’s not enough to keep them afloat.

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READ: Looking ahead: What Phase 2, 3 could look like when reopening

The task force received emails that were read in Friday’s morning, some agreeing with the governor’s decision, and many desperate to see the salons reopen.

The task force said it believes the businesses can reopen in a safe way, and recommends the mayor do something in his power to get those businesses back.

“For us we haven’t sold a single retail product,” Floyd’s Barbershop owner Sarah Sleeth said.

Sleeth said the empty chairs in their salons mean their 100-plus employees are out of a job right now.

“They're desperate to get back to work,” she said. “We can provide a safe environment to get them back to work.”

Frenchie Gomes, owner of Frenchie's Top Notch Hair Studio, said it’s hard to watch her employees struggle to pay their bills while they’re not able to work.

“You constantly worry about how your teammates are doing because they trusted me all these years to work for me,” she said. “To see them struggle, it’s just hard.”

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.