Shawon Brown Gullette says customers inquiring about a reopening date began ringing the phones at her salon, Infinitee Salon & Spa on Salem Avenue, off the hook the day the governor announced in March that salons would be closed.
The calls never stopped.
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Gullette said she is happy her salon’s seven stylists and nail technicians will once again be able to serve clients and generate an income, but she said the many in the industry will need more guidance from the Ohio Department of Cosmetology on protocol on how to proceed.
“I am excited, but I want to make it safe and make sure we are doing it the right way,” Gullette said. “The way I’ve done hair for 30 years is over.”
Ohioans will be allowed to get a professional haircut starting May 15 and sit down at a restaurant patio on May 15 and inside on May 21 – the first time since mid-March when bars, restaurants and personal care businesses were ordered shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Gullette, who as a trichologist has paramedical experience, has already begun to come up with procedures for her businesses and plans to help others.
Salons will have to evaluate everything from distance between hairdryers to appointment booking to ensure proper spacing between customers, she said.
“There is not enough room in some salons to have six feet between stations,” Gullette added. “Sometime people look at the financial aspect, but it is really safety. We have to make that the priority.”
A lot is still not known about the coronavirus, she said, adding that even the most professional hairstylists may find themselves ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic outside of their realm of understanding.
“Education is key with this,” she added. “There is a level of understanding the virus.”
Infinitee’s customers and staffers will be required to wear masks, and no visitors will be allowed to wait with customers during appointments, she said.
“We will not serve people without wearing a mask, and we will not serve people who are without masks,” she said.
Gullette said she is also preparing her staff for the likelihood that restrictions mean they will not be able to serve as many customers as they did before.
The situation at each salon will be different because each salon is set up differently, she said.
Brent Johnson, the co-owner of Square One Salon and Day Spa, said he and his partners are eager to bring their 204 employees back at their six locations in the Dayton area and Columbus.
“And I am looking to hire,” he said.
The idea of reopening is overwhelming and exciting, Johnson said.
“We’ve missed over 3,500 appointments since we closed,” he said. “I know that phone is going to blow up.”
Johnson said stylists’ stations were six feet apart before the pandemic, and Square One built a reputation partly on good hygiene practices and customer care.
He said the salon will operate with caution, but overall, he feels prepared.
“We are up for the challenge,” Johnson said. “Clients and staff were the priority before and they continue to be the priority.”
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