Hair Salons Are Reopening But Your Appointment Won’t Be the Same
As summer approaches and the coronavirus news cycle ends, some Americans get back to work. And when the states open up again, people will understandably come back to life in many phases - socially distant visits to friends, a daily commute and of course hair appointments. But like visiting the nail salon, your next bang or root correction won't be the same catch-up hunt with your stylist as it used to be. With new security protocols and the requirement for flexibility for both customers and employees, navigation in your permanent appointment becomes a little more difficult.
The safety measures start before you come to your hair salon. Whenever someone books an appointment at Gerald's salon in Plymouth, Michigan, “they are given a questionnaire about where they have traveled in the past two weeks or if they live with someone who may have come into contact with COVID-19 or COVID-19 is COVID-19, ”says stylist Nina Pesys. Other salons may check your temperature before you are admitted.
These measures may seem exaggerated, but stylists are concerned that people still show up when they don't feel good. "I'm worried that a customer will still come in to have his hair done when he's sick," because he needs it, "says IGK hair color Stephanie Brown." This happens surprisingly often [anyway], but in our current situation it’s scary. "If you’re under the weather, it can be difficult to stop after waiting months for fresh paint - but it’s better than possibly spreading your illness to others.
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Aside from masks and gloves, temperature checks, and plexiglass partitions that separate you from other customers, the most noticeable change is that depending on the size of your salon, you may be the only one there. This rule, six feet apart, still applies, and in some cases salon workers can only accommodate one guest at a time due to space constraints. “As colorists and stylists, we are legally not allowed to accept or press in more than one customer at a time,” says Brown. In addition, "we're booking additional time because hygiene measures have increased significantly," says Pesys. For it to work, the salons may need to be staggered as to which employees work. Not surprisingly, this will lead to an increase in demand, which means that it may be more difficult for you to book an appointment.
This will also affect the end result of the stylists. "Our daily customer intake will decrease, so I'm getting used to the new normal in the hope that we can continue to do our monthly expenses without effort," said TaKeisha Berry-Brooks, owner of the reopened A Natural Affair salon in Memphis.
Another significant challenge is that some salons have received little or no instructions from their respective state cosmetics agencies, which distribute licenses to stylists and colorists and typically offer training on salon health, workers' rights, and security practices. "I haven't received anything," says Pesys. "They reminded me that my license fee is due this year so they know where to find me." Instead, she and others in her salon received recommendations and advice from salons in states that had previously opened.
Melissa Taylor, who owns the Minneapolis Beauty Lounge, a multicultural hair salon in Minneapolis, is worried on behalf of her clientele as well. "COVID-19 has disproportionately affected color communities and there are so many unknowns related to the virus," she says. While her salon is expected to reopen on June 15, the tensions and pains of her recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice have become a priority, whether coronavirus or not. "My biggest concern is to promote the wellbeing of our community and give people room to feel," says Taylor. "Although there are financial concerns, our community comes first."
There are also some concerns about reuniting with customers in an increasingly polarized world. "A lot of customers supported us, but there were some who were challenging and not understanding - as if it was our fault to be closed for as long as we were," said Berry-Brooks, who feared they would lose business to stylists would oppose the orders and work throughout the ban. Even now - since everyone has an opinion about when and how to open it again, to say the least - the stylists are stuck in the middle. "Open or not open? To work or not to work? “Says Kari Leon-Guerrero, who owns the KaRu Salon in Austin. "I have seen a lot of social shame and division among people because they have chosen to make some of the most difficult decisions they have ever had to make."
And without a vaccine, it is difficult for the salons that are currently reopening to plan far in advance. "I'm concerned about another wave [of COVID-19] and another shutdown," says Leon-Guerrero. "I'm in the process of communicating with my landlord and asking if we can go month by month until autumn." As for the new changes? "I have a feeling that part of it will be long, if not forever," says Pesys.
It's daunting, but all the barbers that glamor spoke to are looking forward to getting back to work. “I am the sole business owner and single mother, so self-isolation during the closure was very difficult. Sometimes without a partner with whom I could share the emotional and financial burden, I felt very alone, ”says Leon-Guerrero. "I'm looking forward to the human interaction and camaraderie between my employees and customers."
As news of the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, glamor strives to provide our readers with the most accurate and up-to-date facts. As a result, the information in this and similar stories may change, and we will update it as necessary. For the latest COVID-19 news, contact the CDC, WHO, and your state's Department of Health.
Deanna Pai is a writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @deannapai.
Originally released on glamor
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