MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Thousands of Vermonters got the words Friday -- get ready to go back to work.
Health care officials say acupuncture, chiropractic care, physical therapy and eye care can restart now. Mental health workers, social workers and dieticians can also meet with clients again. And Non-emergency dental care can resume, except for high-risk procedures like drilling and polishing. Churches can fill more pews and operate at 25-percent capacity, and barbershops and salons can reopen next Friday for limited services.
Like with retail, hair stylists and other professions will have to adhere to capacity limits and social distancing guidelines. Customers will also have to book appointments -- no walk-ins.
"This lets them open up after a very long two months of sacrifice and with bills still coming in and no income," Gov. Phil Scott said.
Amy Bean, a hairstylist in Lyndonville, says she's thrilled. "There's a great need right now for people to get their hair cut and their color so I'm happy about that part of it," she said.
Hairstyling is just half of her work. She also does massages, pedicures and manicures. She won't be able to perform those for now.
All of her staff will be wearing masks and will have plexiglass barriers while they work. But even while some are taking steps to protect themselves as they open back up, some say it's too soon.
"I feel hesitant to rush back in, and even if it is slowly doing little by little, it just feels premature," said Anela Dobraca, a cosmetologist who rents a chair inside a nail salon in Williston and also cuts hair.
Though she'll be working alone for now, she's concerned about stylists that have to share space with others and are more at risk for getting sick. She's also concerned that not every salon is stocked up with enough PPE. "I'm just worried for the entire state not being prepared yet," Dobraca said.
But as thousands of small business owners, independent contractors, and the self-employed go back to work, Bean says she's happy to be back in business. "I know there's a lot of controversy of salons opening up but personally, myself and my staff -- there's 11 of us -- and we're all very comfortable opening up," she said.
Governor Scott also says if the data continues to trend well, he plans to allow groups of 25 or fewer to gather starting on June 1.