Newport salon reopens, defying state restrictions

Kristin Savage, owner of Newport’s Cutting Edge Hair Salon, sweeps up Tuesday morning after serving the first customer she’s had since March 23, when Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order closed personal service businesses like Savage’s. (Photo by Kenneth Lipp)

NEWPORT — One local business owner isn’t waiting for the green light from the state to reopen.

Kristin Savage, owner and sole employee of Cutting Edge Salon in Newport, opened her business at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 12, despite the fact that Gov. Kate Brown’s “stay home” order, which closed personal service establishments like Savage’s, remains in effect.

On May 6, Savage posted to her Facebook page her intention to open within the week, with or without the governor’s permission, calling on fellow salon owners to join her in defying the closure.

She told the News-Times, “I just think the order’s a joke. Everyone went into this thinking it would be two weeks, maybe a month, and here we are seven weeks in, and still we’re so lost. (Brown’s) not giving us any specific dates, and now she’s pushed it out to the counties to decide what they’re going to do.”

Last week, the governor announced counties could apply for phase one of her reopening plan and could enter into it as soon as May 15. Personal service businesses, like salons, would be allowed to reopen once a county enters phase one, but Lincoln County had not submitted an application to do so as of early this week, and Savage said the message she’s received from county officials indicated reopening would happen June 1 or later. According to a press release accompanying the county’s Tuesday announcement that its application was submitted, it will enter phase one as soon as its plan is approved by the governor.

Savage said, “We can’t go another month into paying bills when we have no income coming in. I think that every small business owner should step up and stand for their right.” She said she’d received emails in response to her Facebook post warning her she could lose her license or be fined by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but she isn’t worried about that fate. She said she contacted the state safety agency and was told its regulations were in place for the protection of employees, and Savage has none.

The salon owner said she was following the governor’s requirements for personal service businesses outlined for phase one, including wearing a mask and gloves and providing appointment-only service, and she added the limitation of one person in her salon at a time. Her industry already practices strict sanitary procedures, she said, and she’s confident she can keep her clientele safe. “I’m not worried in the least bit someone’s going to get sick here,” she said.

When the News-Times visited Savage’s shop at just after 10 a.m. on Tuesday, she was just finishing up with her first client of the day, and she said she was booked solid for the rest of the week.

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