SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah-- City leaders and state lawmakers in Salt Lake County want to reopen some businesses immediately, and they banded together to send a letter to Mayor Jenny Wilson and the Salt Lake County Health Department asking them to allow that.
The letter, dated April 21 and signed by 22 people from various cities and leadership positions, focuses on haircuts. The leaders on the letter talk about how salons and barbershops already practice a high level of hygiene, and they don't need to stay closed.
Hair care is something many Utahns have had to cut out of their routines during the COVID-19 closures.
Though it depends on where you live-- and if you are willing to travel for a haircut. G.O.A.T. Haircuts in Lehi has seen the county line crossover with their clients.
"We've had a lot of people from Salt Lake County," said Nick Whatcott, co-founder of G.O.A.T Haircuts.
He estimated that about half of the customers during COVID-19 have come from the Salt Lake area down to Utah County for a haircut.
Their locations in Lehi and American Fork are still open. He said they are taking steps on top of their normal cleanliness like sanitizing after every client, and extreme deep cleans.
They don't like that their Salt Lake County locations can't do the same.
"People are hurting, and our employees need to be able to have the opportunity to work," he said. "And I appreciate trying to do it, but I think there's a way to do it responsibly."
The mayors of Sandy and Riverton-- where G.O.A.T. Haircuts is located in Salt Lake County-- signed off on the letter. As did mayors and/or council members for the cities of Bluffdale, Copperton, Draper, Herriman and West Jordan.
State senators and representatives from some of the aforementioned cities as well as Salt Lake City also joined in, in addition to the president of the South Valley Chamber.
"I just hope she understands this is how we feel," said Draper Mayor Troy Walker.
He said he believes that people have been taking COVID-19 seriously and been good with social distancing, but that the economic cost can be substantial.
"It's my goal we do it smart and we move along, and I think with safety precautions and things like that," he said. "I feel it for my constituents. So I'm supportive of opening as soon as we can, in a safe way."
He explained that he feels other businesses should allow to reopen on top of salons and barbershops-- such as gyms.
However Salt Lake City Mayor Mendenhall said they are not seeing the stabilization in COVID-19 numbers yet, that would allow for reopening those businesses in Salt Lake City.
"Certainly we're all wanting to get back to normal," she said. "But we should be making a decision based on the data that's out there, not some dates or the pressures that we feel."
She continued that they need to look at this from a public health perspective, and weigh that with the economy at play.
Fox 13 reached out to Mayor Wilson, but we have not yet gotten a response on the letter.
Until the county decides to give the green light to those businesses, G.O.A.T. Haircuts will continue to take Salt Lake clients in Utah County.
Whatcott indicated that he'd like county leaders to meet with business owners in the industry, to talk about a way forward together.
"That we could have a collaboration, and maybe a discussion," Whatcott said. "And figure out a responsible solution."
Here is the full list of people who signed the letter:
- Bluffdale Councilmember Mark Hales
- Bluffdale Councilmember Jeff Gaston
- Copperton Council Chair Sean Clayton
- Draper Mayor Troy Walker
- Herriman Councilmember Jared Henderson
- Herriman Councilmember Sherrie Ohrn
- Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs
- Riverton Councilmember Claude Wells
- Riverton Councilmember Sheldon Stewart
- Riverton Councilmember Tawnee McCay
- Sandy Mayor Kurt Bradburn
- South Valley Chamber President Greg Summerhays
- State Senator Dan McCay (D11 Riverton)
- State Senator Lincoln Fillmore (D10 South Jordan)
- State Senator Kirk Cullimore (D9 Sandy)
- State Representative Candice Pierucci (D52 Salt Lake City)
- State Representative Kim Coleman (D42 West Jordan)
- State Representative Mark Strong (D41 Bluffdale)
- State Representative Susan Pulsipher (D50 South Jordan)
- West Jordan Councilmember Chad Lamb
- West Jordan Councilmember Kelvin Green
- West Jordan Councilmember Zach Jacob