Danville salon owner says the state didn’t investigate before issuing cease operation order

Posted at 8:59 PM, May 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 16:26:55-04

BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — When Kentuckians call into the KYSafer hotline to report a business they observed breaking COVID-19 guidelines, the state will sometimes issue an Order to Cease Operation.

Impressions the Salon and Spa in Danville is one of 65 businesses that received a notice from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet between March 1 and April 29. However, owners said the anonymous callers were wrong and the claims were not investigated before the notice was issued.

Jeanna Hutchinson said she was inside working on the business's taxes when two men arrived at the salon to deliver the notice.

“The guys that came to the door to give me the notice couldn't answer any questions and told me to call the number on the paper,” said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson called the Labor Cabinet to find out why the salon received the notice.

“I didn’t know if it was a citation or if we were in trouble,” she said.

Hutchinson was told people called the hotline to report there were people inside Impressions the Salon and Spa getting highlights and that there were people seen coming and going from the building.

“We’ve been closed since March 18th,” said Hutchinson. “My nephew lives upstairs and there’s a door in the back that leads to the apartment.”

Hutchinson said when she finally reached Commissioner Kimberlee Perry, she was told not to worry.

“She said it's not a citation. You're not in trouble. This is just the process that they have for people that call in. She told me you’re not the first person to call and you won’t be the last,” said Hutchinson.

LEX 18 reached out to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet to find out how the state investigates calls coming from the COVID-19 hotline before issuing an Order to Cease Operation.

Chief of Staff Marjorie Arnold declined an interview, saying “Cabinet personnel are dedicated to carrying out our part of the response to Covid-19 and are unable to conduct an interview as requested.” Arnold responded to emailed questions, saying when the department is assigned reports, “Labor Cabinet enforcement personnel make an on-site visit to the business to follow-up on the report of non-compliance.”

However, Hutchinson said the on-site visit her family’s salon received was to deliver the notice, not to investigate the calls coming through the hotline.

“We have a lot of pride in the business and I don't want anyone out there to think that anybody would do anything to put anybody in harm's way, because that's not what our business is about. That's not what salons are about. We like to build people and we're not going to do anything to put anybody in danger,” said Hutchinson.

In an email, Arnold explained when an Order to Cease Operation is issued to a life-sustaining business, they have “the opportunity to correct the deficiencies in view of the enforcement personnel. In circumstances where that is not possible, an Order to Cease Operations is issued with the understanding that the Labor Cabinet will be contacted when they have a viable plan to achieve the necessary safety adjustments and are ready for re-inspection.”

In cases of non-life sustaining businesses, such as Impressions the Salon and Spa, no further action is required as long as the business remains closed.

Hutchinson said her family is frustrated because they are the only ones who have been in the building since hair salons across the state were told to close on March 18. She said they’re trying to put it in the past, and focus on getting everything in order before reopening on May 25.

“If you’re going to call the hotline, know 100-percent what's going on. And let's try to support each other and support all small businesses and get through this and hopefully we'll be up and running soon.”

If you do need to report a non-compliance, you can do so online or by calling the hotline at 1-833-KY-SAFER or (833)-597-2337.