Louisville salons, private clubs among new targets for increased COVID-19 inspections

Louisville salons, private clubs among new targets for increased COVID-19 inspections

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The energy at TITLE Boxing Club on Friday made the room feel more like a dance party than a boxing gym. For some, an afternoon sweat was the perfect way to ring in the weekend.

Though the class size was smaller, owner Jason Wallace was happy to see people in the building. Back in March, Wallace had to close his gym after the onset of COVID-19.

“Especially not knowing when the end was, we thought it was going to be a couple weeks, but it turned into a months," Wallace said. "So it was a very unsettling time for us.”

Knocked down, but not out, Wallace found a safe way to pick his business up off the canvas. Since he reopened his business, he’s taken several safety precautions, including spacing out the punching bags, implementing a hospital-grade sanitizer, and forcing employees and clients to wear masks until classes start.

“With the limited touch points, removing the equipment, you using your own stuff, we’re really able to create that social distancing," Wallace said. "And like I said, with those extra cleaning measures we’re able to keep folks clean and safe.”

A few miles West, J Michael’s Spa and Salon traded in the boxing gloves for the blow dryers for a more relaxing weekend vibe.

Owner Jill Higginbotham has made several changes to her salon to help customers feel comfortable. She’s placed plastic sheets between each chair and enforced mask wearing and social distancing.

“Really focusing on guest service is also what makes us feel connected,” Higginbotham said. "And that was so hard during that two-month period where we didn’t get to connect with those people and bring that beauty out in them. And so, just having the opportunity to continue to do that in a safe way has been so great for us.”

Starting Tuesday, businesses like Higginbotham’s will be under the microscope. Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness Environmental Health Manager Nicholas Hart said the department plans to inspect large establishments and other places for COVID-19 protocols.

Hart said crews will quadruple the amount of time spent at establishments that operate at night and on the weekends and see a large number of people. Hart said crews will also focus on businesses they normally wouldn’t, including large businesses, spas, retail outlets, community events, country clubs and private clubs.

Both Wallace and Higginbotham told WAVE 3 News that inspectors had not visited their businesses yet, but welcomed the opportunity to show them their safety precautions.

“We haven’t seen them yet, but if they do stop by, we’d love the extra eyeballs and recommendations,” Wallace said. "We want to do our best.”

“We would welcome it though, because we feel like we’ve been able to follow every guideline," Higginbotham said. "So we feel really confident that we’ve followed through. And, we’ve had no cases. We’ve had no instances. And I think everyone that comes here feels safe, because we’ve made it our goal, as always, that our guests are our number one priority.”

Hart said Metro Public Health would post a violation list on their website of businesses that do not follow the COVID-19 guidelines for the public to see.

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