‘Check by check’: Salons face grim outlook despite Maryland reopening

Though salons are allowed to be open under Maryland’s phased reopening plans, some are on shaky financial ground.

Continued COVID-19 restrictions mean fewer customers are allowed in, and many older customers are staying away.

“We have been able to maintain ourselves, but it’s, like, check by check,” said Carlos Garzon, one of the owners of bētrū salon in Bethesda, Maryland. “I don’t know how many more months we can survive like this.”

Garzon estimated revenue was down 75% compared with before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Montgomery County’s reopening rules, hair salons, barbershops and nail salons may be open by appointment only and with a host of restrictions in place, including ensuring that there is no more than one customer for every 200 square feet of space.

Lux Studios, also in Bethesda, rents out space to stylists, “and tenants are leaving left and right because of this pandemic,” said operations manager David Reiser.

He said that without rent relief, “we won’t be able to survive. We’ll constantly be in a hole, and there’s no way to dig out.”

Tom Ruder, the founder, owner and CEO of Symmetry Salon Studios, which also rents out space to stylists and has locations in Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Annapolis, said his business is weathering the pandemic better than most, with revenue down 20% to 30%.

Still, “our stylists are hurting tremendously,” Ruder said. “They can’t see as many customers; their services are broken up during the day. They’ve got a lot more costs.”

Ruder added that another round of shutdowns would present a major challenge. “We have the ability to continue to do what we’re doing for a long time, provided we’re open for business,” he said.

Resier is even more grim, saying a possible new shutdown would be “horrible — it would destroy us.”

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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