NORWALK — Hair salons, spas and barbershops are among the businesses in Norwalk that must close their doors by 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Mayor Harry Rilling ordered that hair, nail and tanning salons, barbershops, massage spas, tattoo parlor and body care/art shops all must close in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The mayor issued the order under the power of the civil preparedness emergency he declared last week.

“Social distancing is the only way we are going to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Rilling said. “These salons and spas provide services that simply cannot be done without personal, close contact. I know this order is going to impact these businesses, but my top priority is the health and safety of our community. The state and federal government has resources available to help business owners and employees during these tough times. My Economic Development Team is also here to assist.”

Many salons and barbershops had already put in place measures to practice social distancing while still serving clients. Emilie Forcellina, owner of Stylin’ on Main Avenue, said her team had been cleaning “around the clock” and started taking clients by appointment only. The salon also asked elderly clients and ones with pre-existing conditions not to come in for their own safety.

On Thursday afternoon, Forcellina had to begin canceling the salon’s remaining appointments.

“Everybody that works here that’s a hairdresser works on commission,” she said. “As the owner, that’s how I pay myself as well. I’m terrified. My rent is still going to be due on the first of the month. All my utilities are going to be due. I have no idea how I’m going to afford health insurance for my family.”

Forcellina said she’s had clients calling to order gift cards to help business. However, since many these services cannot be done remotely, the order leaves many out of work for an undetermined length of time.

“It’s going to mess up everything,” said Jose Reyes, manager of Georgey’s Barbershop on Wall Street. “We have family and that’s all we do. That’s how we make money. It’s going to be hard.”

More Information

Members of the public are encouraged to sign-up for the City’s CodeRED Emergency Alert Notification System at norwalkct.org/codered. Updates on City services and hours will be routinely published at norwalkct.org/citynews. The latest health updates will be shared at norwalkct.org/coronavirus.

On Wednesday, shopping malls like the SoNo Collection, along with bowling alleys and amusement parks in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania were ordered closed under a regional order from governors. Earlier this week, bars, movie theaters, gyms, fitness centers, sporting and recreational centers and studios in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were ordered to shut their doors.

Restaurants have been limited to offering take out, all in an attempt to slow the coronavirus outbreak which has so far claimed two lives in Connecticut.

As of Wednesday, five Norwalk residents tested positive for coronavirus.

erin.kayata@hearstmediact.com