Of all the businesses preparing to reopen, as the economy begins to rebound, perhaps the most anticipated are hair salons.
In Ohio, salons legally began cutting hair again Friday, May 15. In Kentucky, they will be allowed to reopen May 25.
But when you walk in for your first cut or color in months, expect to see many changes since the last time you were there.
Customers scramble to book appointments
The phones have been ringing nonstop at Studio 7 hair salon, on Five Mile Road in Cincinnati's Anderson Township since the governor announced they could reopen. Already, appointments are filling up for the next two weeks.
With balloons saying "Welcome back," owner Barbara Naylor and her team of stylists are back after a two-month shutdown.
But things are different now, in a business where people have to work in very close proximity of customers.
Each state is offering different guidelines, but in general you will see social distancing, new partitions, and signage requiring masks.
Changes you will notice
"We've added plexiglass walls to our front desk," Naylor said "We've also added them to the manicure stations as well."
- Manicures are now done through a slot in the plexiglass, like dealing with a bank teller,
- Orange X's on the floor mark 6-foot distancing.
- Stylists disinfect their station between each customer: Don't enter sooner.
- Everyone is expected to wear a face mask.
In some states, like New York and Connecticut, blow drying will not be allowed in the main room, due to concerns about spreading virus particles (this is not a rule in Ohio or Kentucky).
And getting used to a masked stylist may be a bit jarring at first, with some at Studio 7 wearing comical, Joker-like masks.
If your salon is abiding by state and CDC guidelines (and it should be), the first thing you are going to see are signs saying masks are required before you can enter.
"It's for the protection of everybody," Naylor said. "We want our clients to feel safe."
Worried about hair color ruining your expensive mask? At least in this salon, you don't need to worry.
"We also have disposable masks we made for them, in case they are getting color."
Customers thrilled at being back
Customer Mary Hepfer has been waiting for this day.
"It's been two months, so yeah it feels good," she said.
So has Todd Lefevers.
"Feels fresh. Been a while, two or three months," he said.
And for me, it was time for a cleanup from stylist Toni, to trim that Billy Ray Cyrus mullet I've been growing the past few weeks.
If you find your salon is not practicing safeguards, such as customer limits and face masks, let them know, and consider going elsewhere.
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