Owners of a local salon are asking elected officials for help.
Lauren Doucet, co-owner of Salon Des Amis in Lafayette, is sending a letter asking for help for 1099 employees.
Those folks are considered independent contractors and can't file for unemployment in a crisis like this.
"We currently employ 12 stylists, including myself, who are independently licensed and rely heavily on their clientele to support their families. I am writing you today on behalf of the salon industry and as well as on the behalf of my stylists and their loved ones," the letter states. "As fear and anxieties run high and as all layers of government come together to find a resolution to the pandemic known as COVID-19, I would be remiss if I didn't reach out to plead the case for the salon industry to be recognized in any stimulus efforts being considered."
At her salon, the stylists rent booths from the salon and keep whatever profit they make. Since all salons have been ordered closed, they have no income at all.
"Without clients in their chair, they do not get paid. As the owner, I am in a similar position. I also work behind the chair on clients to create my paycheck and cannot afford to pay them like other companies who are retaining their employees can," she writes. "We work in close contact with the public every day which makes it impossible to practice the proper social distancing that is being advised. Due to the uncertainty of this virus and the unforeseeable timeline for businesses to reopen, I am pleading with you to hear our united voices and be recognized alongside the many other necessary small businesses that keep our nation alive and thriving."
Doucet said they're asking to be included in any relief efforts.
"Many of these stylists in my salon have children or are the bread winners in their family unit. In addition, many of them cannot afford healthcare much less to not work a single day. Without an income they will struggle and fail to pay monthly bills, provide food for their families and not have the known security of keeping a roof over their heads," she writes.
Although the lack of aid for 1099 employees is a huge problem now, it's not a new one, Doucet tells us.
"I don't think this is something that just needs to be changed during the COVID outbreak; I think it's something that needs to be changed forever," she said.