Additional safety regulations hurt business for self employed

MEDFORD, Ore. — Many people in Oregon are heading back into work as most of the state has entered Phase 1 of reopening.

For many, that’s a good thing, but changes in safety procedures and a loss of income over the last two months is making it difficult for independent contractors to make the same money as they did before the pandemic.

Jarrett Baker, a nail technician at Nail It! in Medford, used to work 40 to 50 hours a week.

He had to completely stop when non-essential businesses were forced to close down and struggled to get unemployment.

“I just received a couple of my checks from like 7 weeks ago,” Baker said.

To support himself, his fiance, and his son, he had to pick up another job.

“I’ve been a medical grower so I was like let me use my knowledge that I have with the products and the industry and go apply at some dispensaries since they were considered essential businesses.”

Fortunately for Baker, he loves working at the dispensary, and now that he’s back in the salon, he’s doing two things he loves.

Although, he’s not the only self-employed person who has struggled to get financial relief.

Lash extension specialist Felecia Maddux faced a similar problem.

“I filed in the very beginning and two months later still nothing,” Maddux said.

She’s excited to get back into work, but she says the amount of business she’ll have, likely won’t be the same.

“There’s no way I can see the same amount of clients because I am giving a bigger gap in between my clients,” Maddux said.

Baker echoes that sentiment, “I can maybe get like half as many people in as I could get before.”

Both Maddux and Baker have new safety regulations they have to follow like:

  • Wearing a new mask with each client
  • Changing clothes or wearing a cover between clients
  • Extra sanitation of workspaces
  • Making clients stay in their cars until a technician lets them in
  • Both parties have to wash their hands before and after each appointment

Maddux says she’s already followed some of these protocols before the pandemic.

“I’ve always worn a mask anyway so that’s nothing new to me.”

Since reopening, both Maddux and Baker say most of their clients have come back and booked appointments.

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