Residents are asked to attend a special town meeting Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in the (BHS) auditorium to decide by majority vote whether to overturn the newly established Salon Ordinance, intended to , such as hair dressers, barber shops, nail and tanning salons and massage parlors.
The ordinance was on the issue, however a group of salon owners gathered together in opposition, to call Thursday’s meeting.
Brookfield Health Department Director Dr. Raymond Sullivan acknowledged that some of the complaints against aspects of the technical standards by which the facilities will be inspected were valid and that those changes would be made, however the state requirement to inspect will remain whether the ordinance is in place or not.
“This came about because all [health] departments are under pressure from the state,” he explained, as part of an “unfunded mandate” that arose after several illegal shops were identified in the Waterbury and New Haven areas. If the ordinance is overturned at the town meeting, “We will inspect anyway,” he said, “We are under the gun to inspect.”
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State statutes require local health departments to conduct annual inspections and allow them to charge fees of up to $100 per establishment.
“One way or the other it will be enforced,” Sullivan said. “It’s just that the ordinance offers us local control and a break for smaller operators,” as the fee structure set out in the ordinance charges smaller establishments less.
Under the ordinance as it stands, the town will charge $50 for the first three stations, chairs or bays and $10 for each additional, up to $100.
“It puts it in writing rather than leaving it to the financial whims of the town,” he said.
The specific technical standards laid out along with the ordinance are changeable, however, and Sullivan said that his department has “already started some changes in response to complaints from salons in town.”
As an example, the first draft of the standards stated that shops had to wash clippers in warm water before sterilizing them, a process that would ruin electric shears. Another states that food and drink could not be served in the establishment, leading many to believe that simple courtesy of offering coffee to waiting customers would be outlawed.
“The technical standards are not part of the ordinance,” Sullivan said, explaining that those criteria can be changed by the health department without needing a public hearing or special vote of the BOS.
Sullivan said that the standards have already been amended to clarify that electrical equipment does not have to be cleaned using water and to clarify that food and drink is only restricted from the immediate work area and does not include providing drinks or snacks to waiting customers (so long as food is not being prepared on site).
“We can take all recommendations into consideration,” he said.
The goal of the ordinance is to “give an idea of what to expect and give local control rather than state control,” Sullivan said. “This way we can correct issues that may arise before they come up. The ordinance is not meant to be punitive, it’s meant to be prophylactic.”