Wilton hair salon throws in the towel, won't reopen

WILTON — Professional haircuts and dye jobs will have to wait another month. Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Monday that hair salons and barber shops scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, May 20, have now been rescheduled to open early June.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from many owners and employees, and at this time I think the best approach is that we hit pause on the reopening of hair salons and barbershops, take a step back, and allow some more time as preparations continue to be made,” Lamont said.

Just before the announcement was made, the owner of Sunrise Salon Studio in Wilton announced she would not be reopening.

Two others were ready to go on May 20. Another salon owner said he wanted to take a wait-and-see approach.

Azaria Vorves, owner of Sunrise Salon Studio, which operates out of Sola Salon Studios in the Wilton River Park Plaza, decided not to reopen and is closing for good.

Vorves was a victim of unfortunate timing. She opened her studio on Jan. 23, with the coronavirus pandemic following just weeks later.

“The whole pandemic caught me off guard, and I didn’t have a big foundation yet, so I just decided to stay closed,” she said.

To make matters worse, Vorves still hasn’t received unemployment compensation she applied for from the state.

However, other hair stylists at Sola did plan on reopening this Wednesday. “We’re telling customers they can book appointments directly with their stylists on our website,” said a woman answering Sola’s phone, before Lamont’s re-scheduling announcement was made.

Eco Chic at 16 Center Street in Wilton also planned to open this week. A voicemail on its phone said the salon was booking appointments online or by phone.

A number of other Wilton hair salons did not answer their phones on Monday, or post messages on their websites as to their opening status.

Before the announcement about the June delay, Philip DiMarino, owner of Philip Salon & Spa at 9 Danbury Road, was on the fence about opening so soon, but does plan to reopen in time.

He planned for a complete sanitization of his shop on May 20, and planned to “take things from there” as to when the shop would reopen. “It’s up in the air,” he said before Lamont’s announcement alleviated that decision.

“I am waiting to see how my clients and staff feel about things before reopening,” he said.

He believes some people are fearful about going to hair salons right now, but may be willing to test the waters in a few weeks as things progress and more businesses open.

“My phone is not ringing off the hook with customers looking for appointments at this time. It’s like a faucet. I expect there to be a trickle opening with little drips. As things go on, it will open up more,” he said.

Unlike restaurants, which may reopen on May 20, hair salons require physical contact between workers and customers, and DiMarino said he does not want to put anyone at risk for getting COVID-19.

He was not pleased that hair salons were scheduled to reopen this week, while nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage businesses, which also involve human contact, weren’t scheduled to reopen until June.

“These are all businesses that involve touching people. Why would hair salons be opening sooner? It almost seems like an experiment, and it doesn’t make any sense,” he said.