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Closed business owners: show us the COVID data to support it

Gym and barber shop owners say they have not been shown any data to help them understand why their establishments have been closed a second time.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gyms, barber shops and salons were just some of the businesses forced to close a second time during the pandemic. 

That's after parts of Erie County and Niagara county were deemed orange zones.

Owners tell 2 On Your Side they just don't understand why they were forced to close and where the data suggests that they should have in the first place.

"They said they have empirical evidence. We want to see the evidence, we want to see the science, we want to see the numbers," said Michael Zanghi, the owner of Joey's Barber Room in Depew.

He hasn't had a single case of coronavirus, which seems to be a trend among several barber shops and salons across Western New York who are a part a private Facebook group called "Buffalo Salons - Reopening."

"We've got 962 people on that Facebook page and not one, we did our own personal survey, has said they've had a COVID-19 case was traced back to them," Zanghi said.

Zanghi says he does his own contact tracing.

The state and county health departments have never contacted him to ask for that information.

Ashley Draper owns Jada Blitz Fitness, and she says no one has ever contacted her either. 

"We here had 25,000 check-ins since August 24, and we have no known COVID-19 cases linked to the gym," Draper said. 

Officials at the Niagara County Health Department say they have had no cases from gyms or salons. 

Over at the Erie County Health Department, officials say "contact tracers have investigated cases where individuals were employed or spent time at those types of facilities during a time when they were infectious."

However, no numbers were given.

2 On Your Side's Danielle Church was told to reach out to the New York State Department of Health, which then redirected her back to the Erie County Department of Health. 

Now business owners are feeling lost. 

"They made no preparations for us basically. That's all fine and well but because the government didn't have any foresight, we're sitting here with basically no money coming in," Zanghi said. "You can't get your haircut but you can go bowling, Black Friday is still happening today. It's frustrating to us."