U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis brings campaign tour through closed St. Cloud business
May 15, 2020
ST. CLOUD — Reopening Alpha Salon Lux Suites during the COVID-19 pandemic poses a catch-22 for owner Sandra Svihel.
“It would be nice to be earning money,” Svihel said Friday.
On the other hand: “I don’t want to be exposed to the virus. And I don’t want to expose my clients,” she said.
Svihel started preparing to reopen since she saw her last client on March 17 and has a plan ready. She already cleared out the furniture from the lobby of her shop off St. Germain Street and will sanitize after every client.
U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis met with Svihel Friday afternoon as part of his “Reopen Minnesota for Business” RV tour. He also stopped at the Rolling Ridge event center in St. Joseph.
“We’ve been all over the state last couple of weeks talking to businesses like yours and many of whom may not come back,” Lewis said to Svihel. “But you could function in a safe manner.”
Gov. Tim Walz announced this week that retailers could open on Monday, but salons, restaurants and gyms must stay closed.
Salons may be allowed to reopen on June 1. The reopen date has been postponed before.
“The economic carnage that has been induced is going to have health consequences too,” Lewis said. “People are putting off visits. People are getting depressed. And the economic desperation — we’re not looking at that side of the ledger.”
Lewis served in the U.S. House from 2017 to 2019 and is now running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Sen. Tina Smith.
Decisions about closing Minnesota businesses have fallen to the governor with state government oversight, but Lewis said the “Reopen Minnesota” tour is informing his federal campaign.
“People that want to reopen responsibly weren’t getting a voice,” Lewis said outside the salon. “I grew up in a family business and people don’t understand how thin the margins are for a lot of these places.”