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The salon industry is fighting to survive through confusing regulations and black-market competitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Christine Modica, co-founder of the NJ Salon & Spa Alliance, represented owners in an industry that she said has seen revenues down 40% with little ability to recoup since the beginning of the shutdown. 

“We’re constantly battling against illegal home services running rampant by unlicensed operators, as well as those who are licensed,” Modica said during the New Jersey Business Coalition’s online Town Hall on Jan. 11. “It’s giving people a false sense of security that they’re safer within their home. We want to try to push the movement that we’re safer in salons.” 

However, Modica said that even though her industry employs over 32,000 people in New Jersey, it’s not just home services that salons have to contest with, but a government that at times appears indifferent to their needs.  

“There’s been zero exceptions made for additional services that we could potentially offer to help us kind of recover our 40% of losses such as mobile units…, spray tanning, eyebrow tinting, [and] microchanneling,” she said, as well as allowing us, or decriminalizing us, from working outside of the periphery of our own businesses.” 

In addition, Modica expressed concern that the lack of communication of the COVID-related regulations make it difficult to comply in the first place.  

“In the beginning, when we first closed down, our reopen guidelines were telling us to cut to work within whatever capacity was being reflected in the most recent executive order. However, after calling the governor’s office we were told to follow Executive Order 194 and not 196,” she said. “You can easily search what restaurant capacities are, but you cannot easily search what salon capacities are; you have to click on at least five different things.” 

The New Jersey Business Coalition’s “State of New Jersey Business” online town hall provided an opportunity for business owners and coalition members to discuss the current and future needs of the business community. More than 150 people attended the virtual event, including a dozen state legislators and administration officials who were also on the call.   

For more, listen to Christine Modica’s statement or the full town hall event.