ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable discussion with local barbers and hairdressers in the Orlando area to discuss their plans for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis was also joined by Orange County Mayor, Jerry Demings
During the 1 p.m. roundtable which was held at the OhSoooJazzy Hair Salons, DeSantis and salon owners talked about the safety measures that barbershops and salons could implement to prevent the spread of the virus inside their shops.
Owners of local hair salons and barbershops described the ways their staff are trained to keep themselves and clients safe, hoping to sway the governor toward allowing reopening sooner rather than later.
"We're professional enough to protect ourselves and protect our clients. We just want the opportunity," said Nadine Armstrong-Tarpley, owner of OhSoooJazzy. "We're not getting the help we need cause it's so exacerbated already. We just want the opportunity to help ourselves."
Demings sent a letter to DeSantis Friday asking him to allow the reopening of barbershops and cosmetology salons when phase one of Florida’s reopening begins Monday, according to our news partners at WESH.
During the Saturday roundtable, Demmings talked about the importance of getting small businesses like salons and barbershops back open in a safe manner.
"We all in this profession have been trained, from day one, that we gotta be clean and make sure that we take care of ourselves, our family, our coworkers and our clients," said John A. Henry, owner of J. Henry's Barber Shop in Orlando.
DeSantis agreed with Demmings and said it was “not a matter of if, but when” salons and barbershops would be able to open.
At this time, barbershops and salons are not included in phase one's plan to reopen on Monday, but, DeSantis said information obtained from the roundtable on safety measures being taken in the shops will be reviewed.
"I'm confident that it's not a matter of if, just a matter of when," DeSantis said. "But we gotta get there, we gotta make sure it's safe and sound."
Shortly after the conclusion of the roundtable, DeSantis held an update news conference to talk about the state's latest COVID-19 data.
On Friday, DeSantis held two news conferences regarding the state's COVID-19 response. The first was in Jacksonville at the Little Talbot Island State Park alongside Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. During the update meeting, DeSantis announced all state parks would reopen Monday. He also praised Curry who "has done a fantastic job" in making level headed and fact-based decisions despite outside criticism.
"A lot of people thought it was the most significant thing that ever happened... like it was Lolapooloza on the beach," DeSantis said. "I want to thank the local media here in North Florida who fought back against those narratives."
The second news conference was held in Pensacola at the Escambia County COVID-19 Mobile Test Site. During the news conference, DeSantis continued to stress the importance of combating COVID-19 cases at long-term facilities as a top priority for Florida.
Both of those news conferences can be seen in their entirety below.