Despite the governor's executive order closing personal hygiene businesses in New York, a Midtown Manhattan salon was offering manicures, pedicures, and Brazilian waxing this week.
An email from Beleza Beauty Spa told potential clients "We have a few spots available on Thursday (May 28) for Waxing. Book Now!" When the I-Team called to see about specific appointment slots, a salon worker responded the business was "booked solid" on Thursday but they did have availability on Friday.
People passing by the business, located on the fourth floor of a W. 56th Street professional building, were stunned to see a salon advertising such intimate services in the middle of a pandemic.
"With the Coronavirus going on? That's crazy. Are they insane?" said Isaac Cabrera of the Bronx.
"It's not fair," said Lea Korinth, a tourist from Mexico. "I mean there are rules for a reason. Either we stick to them or if we don't this is going to go on for much longer and businesses are going to suffer for longer."
When the I-Team visited, a salon worker who opened the door of Beleza Beauty Spa confirmed the business was seeing clients, but declined to explain how offering bikini waxes and other close-contact services during the pandemic was legal.
"Why do I have to answer your questions?" she said. "I don't want to talk to you."
On a Facebook page advertising Beleza Beauty Spa, a post from May 18 listed a series of measures the salon has been taking to protect clients' health including spacing out appointments and requiring face coverings. But it went on to strike a note of defiance, promising the business would "reopen on JUNE 5th (Friday) 2020 regardless of any regulations."
Less than 24 hours after the I-Team inquired, the salon appeared to walk that defiance back - with a new email to potential clients.
"We are postponing our reopening day," the email read. "For now the book will be open from June 16th 2020 with the possiblity or [sic] being extended depending on the authorization of the local government."
After the I-Team contacted City Hall about the business, a spokesperson reiterated that operating a salon is currently prohibited under the state pandemic rules.
"There are a few bad apples who are trying to jump the gun even though it's not legal," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "It's just not acceptable. It's dangerous. It's a way to spread the disease."