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St. Paul barber shop reopens despite Stay at Home order, is shut down

King Milan's Barber Shop reopened on Monday, May 4.
The barber shop provided free soap, toilet paper and school supplies to families in April. 

The barber shop provided free soap, toilet paper and school supplies to families in April. 

UPDATE 1:30 P.M. 

It's being reported by WCCO that King Milan's Barber Shop was shut down by police at noon.

Original story

The owner of a St. Paul barber shop has reopened to customers despite an executive order from Gov. Tim Walz that bars customer-facing businesses in Minnesota from operating because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Milan Dennie announced plans to reopen King Milan's Barber Shop on April 20. At the time, Gov. Tim Walz's Stay at Home order was set to expire on May 4, but Dennie reopened Monday despite Walz extending the order until May 18. 

Dennie has, however, implemented his own safety measures aimed at protecting customers and himself while trying to keep his business alive at a time when many small businesses are falling victim to the shutdown. 

"As we deal with this pandemic together business operations will differ from usual and I am working hard to ensure that the customers and staff will be safe and comfortable as they visit King Milans Barbershop," Dennie wrote on Facebook April 20. 

He's since talked with the Pioneer Press, calling the order that restricts barber shops and hair salons from working directly with customers an "unjust law" that has his business on the brink of closing. 

Among the safety measures Dennie has implemented:

  • All barbers wear a mask at all times. 
  • Only 5 customers inside at once, all at least 6 feet apart. 
  • Chairs spaced 6 feet apart outside when weather permits. 
  • Customers take a number and follow a digital sign displayed on the storefront. 
  • Disinfecting all equipment. 

Last week, Walz indicated that the next groups of businesses to see restrictions loosened in "May and beyond" could be some customer-facing businesses, small family gatherings, places of worship, and high-contact businesses like barber shops and hair salons. 

Under the current order, barber shops and salons "may not provide any services" outside of selling products on the retail side of the industry. 

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Non-customer-facing retail businesses that have been allowed to partially reopen (curbside pick-up and delivery) are urged to practice specific safety measures, as laid out in the Stay at Home order. 

  • Require work from home whenever possible. 
  • Ensure that sick workers stay home. 
  • Provide health screenings and prevent sick workers from entering the workplace. 
  • Social distancing policies and procedures. 
  • Worker hygiene and source control policies. 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols. 

The Department of Employment and Economic Development has also launched a symptom screening website to help businesses track non-personal employee information, including daily temperature checks and documenting any respiratory symptoms that are commonly associated with COVID-19. 

While shut down for half of March and all of April, King Milan's Barber Shop was a center for community service as Dennie provided rolls of toilet paper and bottles of hand soap to families in need, in addition to school supplies for children to help them adjust to distance learning. 

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