TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Hair salons and barbershops across Massachusetts are getting ready to reopen on Monday under new safety guidelines from the state, and they may have their work cut out for them – with people having been unable to get a trim for two months.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced earlier this week that hair salons and barbershops will be among the close-contact businesses allowed to reopen on Memorial Day.
Maria Cerce, owner of Mr. Snips in Taunton, said she’s nervous, but more than ready to reopen.
“I’m ready to come back to work and make people feel good about themselves,” she said. “If I can do that, I’ve achieved what I set up in my career.”
Cerce said she’s been cutting hair for more than three decades.
“They’re not even customers, they’re more like family,” Cerce said. “They were children when they started coming here, and now I’m doing their children. So it’s more than clients – than customers – they’re my family.”
On the other side of the city, Jessica Schroeder, owner of J. Renee Hair Studio, is also preparing to take customers come Monday.
“I’m happy to give people the light they need after coming out of this,” Schroeder, who has been cutting hair for more than 20 years, said. “My customers are very important to me.”
Like Cerce, Schroeder said she’s close with her clients and after doing heir hair for several years, she said “their safety is extremely important to me, and that was something I had to take into consideration in re-opening and what was involved in re-opening.”
Per state guidelines, salons and barbershops must have hand-sanitizer and hand washing available for customers and staff.
“We’ve had some stations set up for clients as soon as they come int he door to sanitize their hands,” Schroeder said, adding that customers will have a choice between washing their hands or using sanitizer when entering the salon.
Businesses are also encouraged to open windows and both staff and customers will need to practice social distancing.
“There’s no waiting in the waiting area, so people don’t have to sit in here and wait. That’s one of the things that they don’t want and we’re going to abide by,” Cerce said.
Salon chairs will need to be spaced 6 feet apart.
“We’re only using every other station. We’ve actually removed some furniture and chairs to make sure of that,” Schroeder said.
“I actually got a new station for myself so we could all stay apart,” Cerce added.
Customers and staff are all required to wear face masks, and some salons are getting creative in how they can abide by the guidelines and keep the straps out of the way.
“We’ll tape their masks to their face,” Schroeder explained. “Take off the straps and physically tape the mask so it doesn’t interfere with the hair service.”
“I want them to feel safe and I want them to be safe while they’re here and then go home safely to their family without having to worry about having contracted anything something not being sanitary,” she added.
Before or after each customer, stylists are required to sanitize their areas.”We have to take all the stuff that we use – we’re gonna take it in the back sanitize it,” Cerce said. “Wash our hands, and then that’s when we can take our next person.”
“We make sure we clean all our implements that we’re using. Brushes, combs – anything that has had contact with the individual,” Schroeder added.
Schroeder said her salon will be using disposable capes, disposable bowls for processing hair color and has hospital-grade disinfectant wipes for chairs.
Cerce said finding the supplies to open was a challenge.
“Just basic cleaning supplies, like Lysol spray, the wipes, the hand sanitizer. Everything’s on back-order,” Cerce said.
She said she plans to keep a thermometer to check everyone’s temperature before they enter the salon – but she’s been waiting six weeks for it to arrive.
“It’s been difficult, but we’ve been on the right track and as long as we follow all the guidelines – I think that as long as my staff and my clients are safe, that’s all the matters,” Cerce said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo said that hair salons, barbershops and other close-contact businesses will be able to open June 1, when the state is set to enter Phase 2 of her reopening plan.
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