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'It's our livelihood': Boise salon owner struggles as governor extends stay-at-home order

Erin Swenson, owner of Boise beauty salon Eclectic Style, says the revised order was not good news for her business and others like it.

BOISE, Idaho — On Wednesday, Gov. Brad Little revised his statewide stay-at-home order, extending it through the end of April, but allowing some "non-essential" businesses to reopen.

And while the governor said nobody wants to get Idaho back to work more than him, the extended stay-at-home order is a big financial blow for thousands of Idahoans asking why they aren't considered essential.

Among the businesses still under orders to stay closed are hair and nail salons.

Erin Swenson, owner of Boise beauty salon Eclectic Style, says the revised order was not good news for her business and others like it.

"It's kind of frustrating because we're not considered essential service," Swenson said.

Like all barbers and cosmetologists in the state of Idaho, she's been out of work for 21 days now, since Gov. Little's first stay-at-home order.

"It's kind of scary, you know?" Swenson said. "30 days without income, it's more than an inconvenience.

"We live day-to-day when it comes to incomes, so we don't have an employer who's going to pay us for time off or anything that goes with having a corporate or state job," she added.

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Just like with the first stay-at-home order, there feelings of confusion and unfairness among the public about what's been deemed essential and non-essential business. The governor said during his news conference Wednesday morning that he relies on public health officials to help make the decision.

"I'm glad I'm not the governor," Swenson said. "It's tough, absolutely. I just think that with a process, with PPE's, with a face mask and gloves and proper sanitation, we should be able to work."

RELATED: What's an 'essential' business under the extended Idaho stay-home order? Gov. Little lifts some restrictions, allows certain businesses to reopen

She pointed out that a double-standard exists when it comes to what's considered "essential."

"We do see drive-thru coffee shops that are open," she said. "Lots of people are interacting and they don't necessarily have PPE. You know, they don't have masks or gloves on. They're touching money, they're touching your cups.

"And with stylists, barbers, anybody who is licensed by the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses, we have a really strict sanitation and disinfectant process that we have to go through anyway," Swenson added. "So we are probably one of the most sanitized places that you can go."

But for now, all she can do is wait.

"My fellow stylists and barbers are just really concerned when is this going to end," she said. "It's our livelihood."

RELATED: Boise Metro Chamber answers businesses' call for help, but faces its own challenges

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