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Long Beach's Chop Shop adapts to closure

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No chopping at Long Beach's Chop Shop even before Cuomo's order to shutter non-essential businesses

The Chop Shop in Long Beach, did not wait for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order that all non-essential businesses must close to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The hair salon had shut its doors the day before Cuomo's announcement, which was made last Friday.

Chop Shop owners closed the store last Thursday. As of Wednesday, there were 15 confirmed cases on the barrier island, according to the Nassau County Department of Health.

“With tears in our eyes, we have decided that as of 7 p.m. (Thursday) we will close The Chop Shop doors until further notice," a Facebook statement said. “ We held out as long as we could but ultimately we feel it is our social responsibility to do so. Life is moving very fast and we have no idea how our small business will be impacted.”

The governor tweeted the directive at 8:48 a.m. on March 20. "These temporary closures are not going to be easy, but they are necessary to protect the public health," he said.

"What we do next will have a massive impact on the trajectory of this virus in New York," the governor had tweeted earlier in the week. "We can only maintain public health by staying apart. The decision each of us makes now will impact us all tomorrow. Stay home."

Christina Martin, who owns the salon with her sister Prisha Szachacz, told the Herald that closing was one of the hardest decisions she had to make because her family and her employees rely on their jobs for a paycheck. Martin said she is not sure how rent and utilities are going to be paid.

“Though our business is non-essential, many people take their hair very seriously,” Martin said. “It was hard to make the right decision before someone had to make it for us.”

Before choosing to close, Martin said, they were wiping down all work stations after every customer, limiting the number of customers and washing their hands more often. Additionally, they stopped using mugs and brought in eco-friendly reusable cups.

Originally the Chop Shop owners planned on postponing all appointments until after April 15, but with Cuomo’s mandated shutdown of all non-essential business, Martin said she’s not sure when they can reopen and take appointments.

Martin said that many community members praised her decision to close and added people are messaging her on social media and thanking her. She said, “it was nice to know that many in the community are on the same page.”

Martin said phones are redirected to their personal lines, where they can talk to customers. The owners are also selling gift card deals.