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Reflecting on a year since Missouri’s stay at home order

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Creating beautiful transformations for people when they need it the most. That’s a big reason why hair stylist Kaytin Conness loves what she does.

“I love the finishing product and just getting to talk with them and get to know them and build a relationship,” says Conness, a stylist at Halo Salon in Carthage.

But a year ago, her world got turned upside down.

“Corona was a lot. It was very hard,” says Conness.

On April 6th, 2020, right at a year ago, Missouri’s statewide stay-at-home order went into effect. It was part of the state’s early efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, shutting down locally owned restaurants, gyms, boutiques and salons across the state. Many businesses were able to shift to doing business curb-side, drive thru style or online, but salons weren’t really able to do that.

“We shut down after we had just expanded. Honestly, we thought 2020 was gonna be our greatest and biggest year ever,” explains Taylor Mace, Co-Owner of Halo Salon. “It was kind of a fear of, okay, how long are we gonna be closed? What does this this look like for our business long term?”

“We knew it was on the east coast. We knew it was on the west coast. So we knew it was coming to us,” says Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley.

The City of Joplin put their own stay-at-home order in place to coincide with the states, with it going into effect on April 6th as well. Something that Mayor Stanley says, looking back, may have been premature.

“‘Cause we went to one when the risk really wasn’t near as significant as it was going to be later on. That we now know was gonna be later on. But at the same time, there was just so much uncertainty,” says Stanley. “Late June or early July would have been a logical time I think to go towards a shelter in place kind of approach, going all the way through August. But it’s a little bit of a boy who cried wolf situation. You know? You can’t keep calling it and expect the populous to adopt it.”

After being extended a few times at the state and local levels, orders were lifted on May 3rd. That allowed businesses to reopen with a limited capacity, and personal care businesses — like Halo Salon — to operate as long as they maintained social distancing and required masks be worn. Even with those added challenges and the threat of the virus, Mace explains they were slammed when things opened back up.

“It was intense. I mean, they were ready to come back. People are very serious about getting their hair done, and they don’t like to go for extended periods without it,” says Mace. “So, we had a great May.”

Now, a year later, they’re busier than they’ve ever been.

“We’ve never been this busy. This has been our highest service ever. So, it was rough for a while, but it’s paid off. It’s brought a lot of people to us since they want to get out,” explains Conness.

“In March we almost doubled our numbers from any other time,” says Mace. “We’ve definitely felt the support of this community and surrounding communities, so it’s been awesome. We are thankful for the support… we wouldn’t be here without it.”

On April 3rd, when the Missouri stay-at-home order was signed, there had been 2,113 positive COVID-19 cases in the state. There had also been 19 deaths across the state.

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