Nikki Arel, Government Relations Chair

First, we want to thank our lobbyist Paula, for all the input throughout the past two months, and our members who have sent kind words and are being understanding throughout these really weird days.

As of March, COVID-19 took hold in the Northeast, and our state began to activate a response to this health crisis. I have been sending emails and posting on Facebook as often as possible with information about the Unemployment System, PUA, EIDL, PPP, and other assistance for small businesses. I have tried to keep everyone as up-to-date as possible on each of these options.  If you have not yet applied for PPP, and still want to, funds are still available (as of May 11) through a variety of banks and some approved lenders (like Quickbooks and Square).  

On May 8th, the PUA system (AKA the ‘red button’) came online after great anticipation and has created another whole web of confusion.  Many of our members did apply and are seeing some relief; others are having difficulty.  We cannot help you access any state agency more quickly, nor can we file for you, but we recommend calling your State Representative if you can’t get through to helplines, or if you have any issues with partial self-employed and partial W2 employment. You can find your legislator by going to and click ‘Find your Legislator’.   

Also, remember back to January. We were close to getting the DPH to include us in their Bill to ‘clean up’ language in bills. The esthetician bill that passed last year excluded massage therapists as a profession that could work at a business that employs hair or nail techs and be allowed to manage as well. As the session ended early due to the Pandemic, this was left ‘unfinished’. We shall revisit in the fall when the new session starts up.  

Finally, just a little request and reminder. Nikki is 1. human and 2. a volunteer. Every chapter leader is as confused and frightened and as unemployed as everyone else. Please remember to be kind. This situation is not our doing, nor are we responsible for what is happening on a larger stage.

For everyone who wants to see changes in our industry? Please step-up to volunteer and help us. We expect the 2020-2021 legislative session will be a busy one. We hope we can count on everyone coming forward with the same level of conviction and passion as you are now.