Florida shutters pet grooming businesses, but allows it in ’essential’ big box retailers’ salons

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Florida shutters pet grooming businesses, but allows it in ’essential’ big box retailers’ salons

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ April 1 safer-at-home order defines “pet care” as essential and, therefore, retailers who sell pet supplies and food can remain open. Under the governor’s broad emergency order, however, pet grooming is not defined as essential unless for veterinary needs. Therefore, businesses that exclusively offer pet grooming must shut their doors, as many learned in early April amid varied interpretations by some local governments, which initially allowed pet grooming as a component of “essential” pet care. Under Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s emergency order, for instance, grooming was permitted. On April 6, however, Hillsborough County Attorney Christine Beck informed the city the governor’s order preempted its rules. Grace Adriani, owner of Miami Beach Pet Spa, maintains the way some local governments have interpreted the order has created a “loophole” that gives corporations an unfair advantage over small businesses, consumes personal protection equipment (PPE) better allocated elsewhere and perpetuates a health risk. “Mom-and-pop groomers are furious because they have to close, whereas outfits like PetSmart, PetCo and Woof Gang Bakery here in Florida use the loophole that they sell pet supplies to keep their grooming salons open,” she said. “A lot of groomers are extremely upset because it is not fair.” Adriani said retailers should shut down their grooming salons, if not by government order, then by concern for their communities because much of the same PPE needed for health care workers also are necessary to safely groom pets. “During the pandemic, we should not be taking up PPE for dog grooming when it’s needed by health workers,” she said. PetSmart and PetCo shut down their in-store dog grooming services nationwide in late March but, by early April, reopened them. “On March 21, we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our grooming salons out of concern for […]

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