Raleigh salon owner fears COVID-19 will force another round of business shutdowns

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Business has been booming for salon owners since Gov. Roy Cooper moved the state into Phase 2 of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, at least one Raleigh salon owner is doing everything he can to prepare for the next shutdown.

Mark Christopher Salon has chairs spaced out 11 feet ( nearly double the amount recommended for social distancing), temperature checks at the entrance, and a one stylist per customer restriction.

Chris Murray, who co-owns Mark Christopher Salon, said it's his way of doing everything he can to keep his employees and customers safe.

Still, despite all the precautions inside his salon, he fears the virus could bring his business to a screeching halt again soon.

"I do think that we will enter another shutdown phase," Murray said.

WATCH: Gov. Roy Cooper explains why North Carolina is not ready to reopen completely
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Gov. Cooper said the decision was made because people tend to gather closer together in these businesses without social distancing.

State leaders have expressed concern about the recent increase in positive cases across the state, but they have not so much as hinted at moving back to a shutdown.

In fact, we could learn early next week if the state is entering reopening Phase 2.5 or even Phase 3.

Murray is preparing for the possibility.

He' absorbing the latest COVID-19 data coming out of the state, which last week showed an uptick in cases. That in turn created an increase in uncertainty about what could be next for businesses.

Wake County said Monday that it has the second-highest number of positive cases in North Carolina and hospitalizations are rising.

With that information, Murray created a new policy. He began urging clients to reserve time slots through New Years'. He hopes that will prevent another mad dash for services, like what happened when Phase 2 began.

"I do fear that we will shut down in the fall season, which is typically salons busiest time of the year. That makes me a little nervous," Murray said.

He worries about what that could mean for staff and their ability to pay bills.

Murray has already run out of PPP money.

"I'm not sure where that would come from the next go-round. I'm not sure that would be available and that's very concerning," Murray said.

The team, for now, is working diligently to maintain the safest environment in the midst of a pandemic.

"The most important thing for me is for clients to come in, feel at ease and leave safely," Murray said.
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