EXTRA PRECAUTIONS

EXTRA PRECAUTIONS — Along with waiting another two weeks to reopen at reduced capacity after Yakima County announced its transition into Phase 1.5, Daisy Rivas is seen wearing two face coverings also as an extra precaution. She will provide her employees masks, plastic face shields, and disposable aprons to ensure health safety when she does open.

SUNNYSIDE — With her voice catching in her throat and tears trickling down her cheeks, owner of Family Beauty Salon Daisy Rivas, was feeling the financial pressures as she sought assistance to apply for a small business grant on June 19 – a weight that has lifted off her shoulders a bit since Yakima County has reached Phase 1.5 meaning her small business can open in a limited and gradual capacity.

Yakima County Development Association (YDCA) provided community outreach in several lower valley locations including coming to Sunnyside twice, where Rivas had hoped to gain some assistance in Spanish.

The mother of three adults and grandmother of three sat in front of the Sunnyside Library where the YCDA set up and received help in putting together her documents. That’s when the reality of Rivas’ situation set in.

“I haven’t been working since the 14th of March. It’s been really hard. I’ve been depressed and sick,” she wept.

The entrepreneur has owned her salon for 25 years and this was the first time since its opening that she has not worked. Rivas had gotten herself set for a grand re-opening with newly added floors and fresh coats of paint when the state-mandated closures were announced.

“I miss my customers. It’s hard for me because 20, years, 25 years already in here,” Rivas lamented when speaking of her salon. “It’s a long time. It’s hard for me to stay home for four months, no work, nothing. Then the COVID.”

The hair stylist’s granddaughter graduated this year and had a small family gathering to celebrate. A friend of the family also came to celebrate but then called after the party with some grave news.

“A friend of my son, she got COVID, so she called to everybody ‘hey, I got the virus, so guys, go to check that with a doctor,’” Rivas explained.

After immediately seeing a doctor, she anxiously awaited her results. It took four days for Rivas to find out she tested positive for COVID-19.

Rivas conveyed she had some of the symptoms including a harsh cough. She stressed, “I felt like I might die. My heart, my blood pressure was so bad.”

After 20 days since her contraction, the businesswoman feels stronger than ever, ready for the next step in re-opening her Sunnyside salon on 1103 Yakima Valley Highway.

After hearing the news of being in Phase 1.5 — meaning hair salons can have up to 25% capacity of their patrons — Rivas exclaimed how happy she was to be so close to opening business. She had been preparing for two months for a hopeful reopening.

Rivas has set her stylists’ chairs the recommended 6-feet apart, she has Personal Protective Equipment for her staff, and she sported a black t-shirt with her salon’s name on it. On the back, there was a face covering illustration with the phrase in English and in Spanish, “Respect the distance.”

While Rivas is excited to restart her business, after contracting COVID-19, the stylist still feels a little unwell and has decided the best thing for her and her customers is to wait another two weeks before she opens her doors.

Rivas has yet to hear back from YDCA about her application but hopes to hear back this week.

The Yakima County Board of Commissioners and YDCA announced that $2.8 million in CARES act funds will be disbursed to help out small businesses in need. The grants can be up to $10,000 for expenses incurred after March 27.

The first-round deadline is Monday, July 13, and businesses must be in Yakima County and have had to close or reduce capacity due to the Governor’s orders. The grant also applies to businesses under a year old. The grant application can be found at www.ycda.com/grants.

Free face coverings are also available through the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management.

Commissioner Ron Anderson noted, “We want to make sure anyone who needs a mask can get one and no business has to turn away a customer due to a lack of PPE.”

To request masks, businesses can call 509-574-1900.

Elizabeth Sustaita can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email esustaita@sunnysidesun.com.

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