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11/05/2019 02:27 PM

Ordinance Adds New Regulations for Madison Salons, Barbers

The Board of Selectmen approved a new ordinance regulating Madison’s salons, barbershops, piercing and tattoo parlors, and other cosmetic service providers, that’s intended to better codify requirements for these businesses as well as ensure safe and hygienic environments for their customers, according to Health Director Trent Joseph.

The ordinance also levies a marginal tax on these businesses, between $25 and $100 a year, depending on the type of business, and sets requirements for regular inspections.

The ordinance will go into effect on Friday, Nov. 22, according to Town Services Coordinator and Risk Manager Lauren Rhines.

Joseph said that while Connecticut state statutes regulate cosmetology shops, the language used is “very broad,” making a local ordinance useful for the purposes of clarity and accountability.

“We’re not like Walllingford where there’s a lot of cosmetology establishments,” said Joseph. “We have a few in town, but this ordinance allows us leverage—it does allow us to routinely inspect and it holds the establishment accountable.

“Any type of license and procedure, accountability of that establishment is very important,” he added.

Part of the impetus for passing the ordinance is a state bill, currently under consideration by legislators in Hartford, that would set universal standards for inspections and also define “minimum education and training requirements” for certain cosmetology professions. Joseph said he had spoken to health officials from other towns about this bill, though his guiding principal and primary focus was making sure that Madison’s regulations best serve its residents.

“The main thing is always going to be the public health and the prevention of disease,” said Joseph. “I think it was long overdue for a local ordinance since my time being here.”

Some of the more important things the ordinance does is define what makes a business a salon, nail parlor, or other distinct cosmetological establishment, as well as the specific equipment and facilities necessary for these businesses to operate, according to Joseph. The ordinance also lays out “pre-operational inspections,” which can help businesses interested in moving to Madison more easily learn about what locations are suitable for them and what the requirements will be for them to establish themselves.

Joseph said that he had reached out to local business owners who would be affected by the new ordinance and had mostly heard positive feedback, despite the extra tax. He said that most of Madison’s salons feel like they hold themselves to a high standard and are appreciative of the town’s efforts to further solidify those standards.

Rich Santanelli, a partner at Tony’s Barber Shop in the town center, said he had already paid his $50 tax. He said that it had been explained to him that the purpose of the tax was to increase cleanliness.

Santanelli said he didn’t have strong feelings on way or another on the new ordinance.

“In the scheme of things, $50 a year isn’t going to kill us,” he said.