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Cuomo says gyms & salons are not “super spreaders” frustrating owners

Posted at 7:19 PM, Dec 09, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When portions of Erie County were named orange zones two weeks ago, personal care businesses like salons and barbers, and fitness centers were the first to be shut down.

They haven’t been open since.

“We have so many protocols on the gyms and salons that they’re not the super spreaders,” Cuomo said in a press conference Monday.

After the governor made those comments, gym and salon owners were hopeful Wednesday would bring some re-opening news. None such news came.

“When our leadership is very inconsistent, and you’re not going off the data, you’re not leading us,” said Catalyst Fitness Owner Amy Bueme. “That’s when people are going to push back,” she said.

“He said salons aren’t the cause yet here we are again,” said Ann Freer-Carrol, owner of Chez Ann Salon in Williamsville.

Bueme, who owns the seven Catalyst Fitness gyms in Western New York says she believes the comments by the governor are outrageous to her industry, the people out of work and those who need health and fitness clubs for mental and physical well being.

“People are mentally and physically shot,” she said. “From the first shut down to now, I have not stopped thinking about us being essential,” she said.

Bueme says she is putting together a book full of doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who can vouch for the gyms.

“I am taking my member’s health seriously,” she said.

“We know we are not the cause of it,” Freer-Carroll said of salons.

Ann says she has spent more than $6,000 to her salon in Williamsville making it safe for clients. She says she waits every day with her staff for the governor to give the green light, but says he needs to give some notice.

“He is an 11th hour guy,” she said of Cuomo. “If he says we can open tomorrow, do I take my clients from three weeks ago or new ones? It’s so unfair.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul’s office released a statement saying,

“Right now, Lt. Governor Hochul's priority is immediately increasing hospital capacity throughout Western New York, supporting our essential workers, and ensuring we can handle the anticipated surge in hospitalized patients without needing further restrictions on businesses. She hopes to update WNYers with any progress later this week.”