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Nevada Interrupted: Salon owner hopes for clearer direction from government, compassion from landlord

Tabitha Mueller and Joey Lovato

The Nevada Independent

Alana Davis, owner of Aesthetically Speaking on March 19, 2020.
Photo: Joey Lavato / The Nevada Independent
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story first published April 2 by The Nevada Independent and is republished here with permission. For more Nevada news, including wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage and a constantly updating live blog, visit The Nevada Independent.

RENO, Nev. — Alana Davis said when coronavirus first came onto the scene, she saw a rush of clients trying to get waxes, lash extensions and a variety of other beauty treatments at Aesthetically Speaking, the Reno body and beauty bar she started in 2014.

A few weeks into mandated closures of nonessential businesses such as salons, though, and she is worried.

“Now, if you ask my clients, their eyelashes are essential. But I get it. We want to curb the spread of the virus,” she said, noting that “it’s liable to put us under.”

Davis said she applied for a small business disaster loan and reached out to her landlord on March 18 about paying half the rent in April and then paying the rest when business starts up again but has not heard back.

Since Gov. Sisolak suspended rent evictions on Sunday for both residential and commercial tenants, Davis said she feels more stable about not losing her business location. 

“The rent is going to have to be paid. So I am going to pay half of the rent, come April, and I’m hoping that I’ll hear something back from [my landlord] then as far as how she wants to proceed,” she said. “I can afford to pay half of [the rent] but I can afford no more than that because I don’t even know how this is going to affect my business once we’re able to open back up again.”

Davis has tried to keep her customers and staff updated on when the business will open again, but said she feels as though she is in “limbo.” She said she wishes for more direction from officials or weekly updates on how to proceed and what to expect in the coming months.

“None of us really know what to do, and even if it just meant having something once a week that said, ‘here is what we know and here’s what we need you to do right now,’ that would be so helpful,” she said.

Now that Aesthetically Speaking is closed, Davis said she and her workers who are on payroll through the beauty salon are receiving unemployment benefits, which has helped ease some of the stress. But she hopes that the government will continue to take steps to protect businesses and their employees.

“I’m just scared to death,” she said. “When I finally seem to be getting ahead and doing good, all of a sudden, bam, we get hit with this … All we’re doing is just hoping for the best and just praying that it’ll work out.”

The Nevada Independent is a 501(c)3 nonprofit news organization. The following people or entities mentioned in this article are financial supporters: Steve Sisolak – $3,200.

EDITOR’S NOTE: NEVADA INTERRUPTED SERIES

“Nevada Interrupted” is an ongoing series of stories launched March 23 by The Nevada Independent that features interviews with businesses and workers about how they are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic’s realities.

Read more about impacts to Northern Nevada businesses in the Nevada Interrupted series:

• At Reno’s Wild River Grille, survival could hinge on duration of shutdown

• Reno gym owner hopes to keep momentum amid closures

• Reno auto shop adjusts during a time of uncertainty

• Sparks distillery transitions from making hard liquor to hand sanitizer amid shutdown

• Open just four months before pandemic hit, Reno’s Coffee N’ Comics wants to be part of the solution

Reno therapist shuts doors, moves to remote counseling


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