Nail salons prepare to navigate services amid pandemic

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Nail Chic Salon and Spa has been closed since March 23, and since then, owner Jeudy Lopez has been preparing to get back to work.

With her business set to reopen next Tuesday, Lopez has ensured that all nail stations are at least 6 feet apart and the waiting-room chairs have been removed to prevent customers from lingering inside.

But Lopez said all of the adjustments are being made specifically to keep everyone safe.

“We need to be protected from both sides so, like I tell my employees, just assume everybody that comes in has it so that in your mind, you’re going to be taking extra precautions at all times,” Lopez said. 

Providing nail and hair services during a pandemic is new to everyone, but Lopez wants to assure her clients that they are in good hands. She said many have reached out to her during the closure and are looking forward to the reopening. 

“We want to make sure the customer’s stay here is very comfortable, and they are at ease,” she explained. “We are cleaning everything, it’s up to parr, we follow the guidelines, I’ve read through them many, many times.”

As part of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plan to reopen the economy, the state released new guidelines Thursday providing instructions for close-contact services, including manicures, haircuts and tattoos.

The guidelines said businesses should screen all employees and customers for any symptoms of COVID-19, and if they don’t feel well, they’ll have to reschedule. The states also suggest that services be provided by appointment only.

The guidelines advise that services should be done in a timely fashion to minimize any possible exposure. It will be a big change for Lopez’s salon, where clients and employees often socialize.

Lopez said now, everything is spread out and a shield is placed between the client and nail technician.

“They can’t go on their phones during their service because that’s going to take too much time. We can’t really speak as much because we have limited time as well,” nail tech Aveda Yos said.

All tools must be sanitized after each client, and employees should leave at least 15 minutes between clients to ensure it’s done properly.

“The shield will be sanitized, obviously the chair, all of the implements,” Lopez explained.

Lopez said under state guidelines, her salon is big enough to serve several clients at once, as long as the stations are 6 feet apart.

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