Some Southeast Utah Business Owners Excited For Opportunity To Reopen Under New Health Plan

Apr 16, 2020, 6:30 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2020, 2:55 pm

PRICE, Utah — The Southeast Utah Public Health Department started taking applications from some local businesses, allowing them to reopen. The new guidance applies only to hair salons, tanning salons, gyms, tattoo shops, and other businesses like that. KSL talked to one business owner who said he’s excited to reopen and get things going again.

Lenny Pagano has been working as a barber for the last 49 years. That’s a long time to do any job, but when you love it the way Pagano does, it’s not really work at all.

“Oh yeah, I do. I got a good business,” said Pagano with a laugh.

He owns Gents Hair Styling in Price and has seen all kinds of styles throughout the years. He said the only thing he has never seen, though, is a month-long empty chair.

“No, I’ve never been off work like this before,” said Pagano. “I’ve always been there every day and try to satisfy my customers.”

Coronavirus has a style all its own, one medical workers and scientists have never seen before.

“With this virus, who knows? You know? It’s pretty scary,” said Pagano.

Health departments ordered many businesses, like Pagano’s, to close, just to be safe. But without customers, there’s no paycheck.

“It hits you pretty good, you know? Because you’re used to working every day and paying your bills and stuff. We can only go so far,” said Pagano.

Pagano and other business owners recently got some good news.

“We don’t have widespread transmission of cases that we have identified,” said Brady Bradford, director of Southeast Utah’s Public Health Department in Price.

The department covers Carbon, Emery and Grand counties. Bradford announced that because infection numbers aren’t high in that part of the state, barbershops, salons, gyms, tanning salons, tattoo shops and other businesses like them, could start re-opening.

“We know we have to be very cautious in moving forward. We don’t want to have a huge surge of cases later on,” said Bradford. “We expect we’ll still get some positive cases, but it’s just been a hopeful week anticipating these businesses being able to ramp back up soon.”

Those business owners would have to submit an application to the health department, showing their plan to be safe if they re-opened. That safety plan is crucial.

“Of course, it doesn’t eliminate all risk, but it really reduces the risk of disease transmission,” said Bradford.

Pagano said he already sent in his application.

If there is one thing he’s learned from this, it’s that 49 years later, he’s not ready to close for good.

“No, I want to go back to work,” said Pagano with a laugh. “I’ve been home for too long.”

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Some Southeast Utah Business Owners Excited For Opportunity To Reopen Under New Health Plan