With Spokane County’s Friday move into Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start reopening plan, hair salons and barbershops were allowed to get clients back in their chairs and take care of their neglected (or unprofessionally managed) quarantine hair.
At Northside Salon, owner and hairstylist Emily Yaden was working with her two stylists, Makayla Moore and Brooke Cannon, to reopen on Tuesday. That meant rearranging furniture, scheduling appointments and practicing health and safety protocols.
While some salons and barbershops opened immediately, Yaden’s salon is among a large number taking their time as they await shipments of personal protective equipment and work to figure out how to follow all the guidelines the state has put in place.
Yaden said figuring out how to follow all the guidelines and protocols has been one of the hardest parts of preparing to reopen, because the state’s official statement is hard to interpret. She said she’s found help navigating the language from the Cosmetologists of Washington United.
“For us, we have to wear a mask the whole time,” Cannon said. “Gloves anytime we’re touching something outside of our own personal space or our clients’ (personal space). We already did a lot of sanitation before, but there’s going to be a lot more separating things and double- and triple-checking everything. We’ll probably have to get here earlier than normal to get everything checked and set up and stay later to get everything cleaned.”
Along with strict protocols for themselves, salon and barbershop customers also have guidelines they will have to follow closely when they come to an appointment.
“They’ll have to wait in their car and call us when they get here,” Cannon said. “Then, when they come in, they have to go back and wash their hands for 20 seconds and then they will have to wear a mask as well for the whole time they’re in here.”
Northside Salon’s plan is to work regular hours, unlike some salons and barbershops that will work extended hours to make up for reduced capacity, and each stylist will see about five to seven clients each day.
“Now, opening back up, my phone is blowing up, which is amazing. That’s what we want,” Yaden said. “People have been really supportive. They want to get in as soon as possible, but there are also other people who have reached out and were willing to wait and be scheduled for whenever we could fit them in.”
She expects to schedule out hundreds of appointments, which will take months to fulfill. Yaden said the community support now and at the beginning of the shutdown has been inspiring.
“Since the shutdown, our clients have been really amazing,” Yaden said. “They’ve been really supportive and asking what they can do to help support. We did a gift card sale, which was huge for us in the beginning, and our clients were so supportive of that.”
They also had pickup days for clients to come and get hair products, and partnered with a few other small businesses to create a spa gift box for Mother’s Day.
“It’s been amazing to see the support,” Yaden said. “Spokane has always had a tight community but during a time like this, I could start crying, because it’s been so amazing to see.”
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