Salons forced to close amid new Directed Health Measures

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN)- As of 8 a.m. Thursday, thousands of people in Lincoln are without jobs. Hair stylists and salon employees are among the "non-essential" workers told to stop working, but bills keep coming in.

Studio Nine Six 11 Salon and Spa normally sees around 250 clients a day. Now, the doors are locked and the business is empty.

"To see the salon like this,it's just eery," said salon owner Heather Chloupek. "To have the door shut, no laughter in the halls, it's sad."

Chloupek said Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird's announcement that salons across Lancaster County have to close because of community spread of COVID-19 creates real financial hardships.

"Basically, for 37 girls their income stopped," Chloupek said.

One stylist, Jamie Kromberg, said she is still in shock.

"I don't know how it will affect me," Kromber said. "Day by day, I guess we'll find out. Right now, I don't have an income."

Kromberg said in the days leading up to the closure, she was working around the clock to try and stay open as long as possible.

"If I didn't work, I wasn't making money to support my family," Kromberg said. "I have to pay my bills."

She said many stylists are now stuck, calling the situation stressful, scary and sad.

Chloupek said most stylists are self-employed, so they don't qualify for many of the state's unemployment benefits. The Department of Labor said normally self-employed workers would not qualify, but with a new pandemic unemployment program passed by the Senate, help could be coming.

Stylists say the best thing to do right now is to support your salon, saying if you had an appointment that had to be canceled, buying a gift card now to use later will help, as will buying products from your stylist.