Coronavirus: Hair salon denying service for Tyson food plant workers after outbreak

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. — A hair salon in North Carolina is denying service to employees at a Tyson plant due to a coronavirus outbreak.

SmartCuts posted a sign at their Wilkesboro location that read, in part, "Due to the number of Tyson employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, we are unable to serve Tyson employees."

The note was widely circulated on social media. Last week, 570 workers at that Tyson plant tested positive for the coronavirus.

Some of the Tyson workers WSOC-TV spoke with were upset by the sign placed outside the SmartCuts, but others said they understand the owners' decision. David Gentry, who has worked at Tyson for years, doesn't agree with the ban.

“Knock on the door, shoot them a bird and cuss them out,” he said. “That’s me.”

The business is about two miles from the Tyson plant.

The sign said the business would be “unable to serve Tyson employees until approximately June 8, once the recent COVID outbreak has been controlled.”

The business has enacted several precautions to keep workers and customers safe, including mask-wearing, temperature checks and social distancing measures.

“I think it’s a good thing because too many people are passing who’ve had this virus,” said one customer, Frances McManus.

“That there is something this place has to deal with,” said another customer, James Spears. “Because if they come in with the disease, that’s bringing it into their business.”

SmartCuts said it will give Tyson employees a $3 discount once they return to providing services to them.

Bob Hartley owns SmartCuts and said he’s not only trying to protect his employees but his customers and the community.

“If it is unethical in some way that’s still legal but unethical, we will stop it,” he said. “It’s just an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 on the Wilkesboro community and among our employee group.”

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