DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Bethany Jennings says she listens to news conferences and reads through press releases to glean whatever she can about the COVID-19 situation in Dallas.
“I’ve definitely been a psycho about it,” she joked.
She manages the Revel Workshop hair salon in Dallas’ Design District. The business has been closed now for a month and a half. “Everybody’s roaring to go, just wants to be in here creating again and around people,” she said. “But we definitely want to make sure we’re doing it in a safe way.”
Under “Phase II” of Governor Greg Abbott’s current plan for restarting the economy, hair salons would be allowed to reopen along with gyms, barbershops, and bars.
In announcing the plan last week, the governor said he hoped to be able to make that happen on May 18, just two weeks from now. “If there’s no flare up of COVID-19,” he added.
It would all depend, Abbott warned, on what data shows happening during “Phase I” of the plan which took effect Friday, allowing restaurants and retailers to open their doors with limits on how many customers could be allowed inside.
“I just wanted to personally see the numbers,” said Travis Whitfill, an academic researcher living in Dallas. He began graphing the data shared by the city and the state to see for himself what was happening.
Speaking about the number of new COVID-19 cases reported each day he said, “We’re seeing those numbers trend upwards very rapidly.”
Of course, those are numbers the governor warned would go up. “Because there will be an increase in the amount of testing, it’s only logical to see there be an increase in the number of people who test positive,” he said during his April 27 appearance.
Whitfill, though, looked at other numbers too. He plotted data on the number of hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators Dallas hospitals have reported on a daily basis.
Those numbers, he found, were gradually increasing too. “However you want to look at it, they’re all concerning, especially in the last week,” he said.
The governor has yet to indicate his opinion on the past week’s worth of data, which likely reflects the spread that occurred even before phase one started.
At Revel Workshop, Jennings is figuring out what re-opening look like. “Are we going to have a stylist at every other station?” she said.
The biggest question, she’ll be asking, though, is whether it’s safe yet.
“Are we helping our community or are we hurting it by reopening? That’s what we’ll be looking at going forward.”