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Hair stylists ask state for higher prioritization on vaccine list

A local hair stylist said there wasn't much guidance for hair stylists when they reopened last May. They're asking for more vaccination priority.

DENVER — Keeping the doors open to Revolver Salon in Denver comes with its fair share of risks. The owner, Kitty Vincent, will be the first to tell you. 

"I can’t work remotely. I touch people for a living," said Vincent. "I work with some of them for hours at a time if we’re doing a color service. So we put ourselves at risk every day. Every day we don’t know if we’re working with someone who could be infecting us." 

There are several safety measures in place at Vincent's hair salon. Even with masks and social distancing as much as possible, the fear of contracting the virus at work doesn't go away. 

> The video above aired Nov. 30 and explains how hair salons have navigated operating during the pandemic.

"I take people's temperatures, I ask if they have symptoms, but we know how many people can be infectious and not know it," said Vincent. 

Currently, hair stylists are grouped with the general public on the state's vaccine distribution list. For the past two months, Vincent said she has been trying to change that. 

"We work directly within someone's breath space, and we feel it's reasonable that we should be on the list for vaccinations in 1.B3 along with other essential workers," said Vincent. 

In a letter to Gov. Jared Polis, Vincent wrote, 'Our industry was sent back to work first after shutdown, and many of us felt like guinea pigs in the great reopening experiment. Many felt our health was given little consideration at that time.' 

Vincent said she has not yet received a response from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) or the governor's office. 

"We’ve worked extremely hard, and now that we’re requesting vaccinations, we feel the state has in some ways abandoned us', said Vincent. 

CDPHE did not directly address hair stylists when asked for comment, but said:

"It is good news that so many Coloradans want to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and we understand many individuals and families have unique circumstances. Unfortunately, we are limited by federal supply.

"The state’s prioritization is guidance to our providers on how to manage our constrained federal supply of vaccines with demand in order to save the most lives possible and end the pandemic as quickly as possible with the information we have available to us." 

9NEWS also reached out to the governor's office and has not yet heard back.

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