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Chantel Fidelia-Thomas straightens Joyce Ayala's hair in February at Luxe Salon and Spa in Killeen. The salon is currently closed and Fidelia-Thomas is currently out of work. 

The many hair dressers and barbers who work a the dozens of hair salons and barbershops that dot Killeen have been out of a job for the past week, and tensions are growing as it is still unknown when they will be able to get back to work.

“A lot of worrying, a lot of unknown, open-ended questions and we can’t give answers to our staff. It’s scary,” said Lakiecha Nieto-Molina, a co-owner of Luxe` Salon and Spa on Florence Road in Killeen.

Hair salons and barbershops are part of a long list of businesses that have been forced to close because of the coronavirus and the shelter-at-home order issued in Killeen and Bell County, officials said. Neither are considered essential, even in an Army town like Killeen, where many soldiers get their hair cut in accordance with Army regulations.

The shelter-at-home order was officially announced on Monday by Bell County Judge David Blackburn.

The order has forced the hair shops to close and they are not able to conduct business, even from home.

At Luxe`, Nieto-Molina and fellow co-owner Chantel Fidelia-Thomas had only opened the new salon in December.

“We want to provide answers to our staff. We’re just waiting for answers,” Fidelia-Thomas said.

The business partners said it is very difficult for them because they don’t have months or years of money from business operations to fall back on.

Nieto-Molina said she has already applied for jobs at H-E-B and Amazon to try and generate some income.

John Crutchfield is the president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and he provided a statement on hair shops via email on Friday.

“Obviously, if they are closed, they are not generating any income. That likely makes them eligible for a loan, convertible to a grant, from the Keeping Workers Paid & Employment Act portion of the CARES Act, just passed by Congress to be signed by the President later today. We will be putting information up on our chamber website about the program later today and there is a webinar that I did with Representative (Brad) Buckley earlier today already posted there that includes information on the topic,” Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield said he did not have the number of hair shops affected by the closure.

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