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Stylists react to reopening hair salons

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Clients sit sit feet apart at Salon West and Spa while stylist Alex Vincent mixes up color, left, and stylist Tasha VerStrete, right, applies color to her client’s hair.

ESCANABA — Salon and barber shop owners waited for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to lift the executive order keeping non-essential personal care services that involve close contact closed. Now that the order has been lifted, stylists and barbers are back in business — but that doesn’t mean it’s business as usual.

Reflections Hair Salon Owner Kris Krutina is excited to open her doors to clients she consider family and friends.

“Our customers are like family, at times we act as their therapists,” said Krutina.

The time away from her salon was tough on Krutina. She communicated to her clientele through Reflections’ Facebook page to let everyone know what was going on.

“I’ve never been told I can’t work,” she said. “During the closure I lost two (chair) renters because they thought they didn’t have to pay during the pandemic, it was horrible. They felt they didn’t have to pay because they didn’t have an opportunity to work.”

Krutina applied for six grants while her business was closed. She didn’t receive any.

“It was crazy. We were losing money. I was getting unemployment, but it’s not the same as being open and having all my chairs rented,” she said.

Michigan was one of the last states to lift restrictions, keeping salons and barber shops closed. Then Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-115 on June 5 at 10:32 a.m., rescinding part of a prior order restricting the operations of facilities offering non-essential personal care services. The rule was officially rescinded at 12:01 a.m. on June 15.

“We have been slammed rescheduling appointments,” said Ashley Westlund owner of Salon West and Spa.

Salons and barber shops are taking steps necessary to reopen under the current state regulations.

“We’re doing everything we are told to do and following the guidelines to open, sanitation, Barbicide certified safety …,” said Krutina. “Clients will feel safe and welcome in my salon.”

Salon West and Spa created an infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan all employees must implement. The goal is to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19 in the community. Westlund asks customers abide by their plan in a cooperative effort to maintain the safety and health of workplaces.

“Our team is our most important asset,” said Westlund.

The plan follows Michigan Board of Cosmetology and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Michigan Department of Health guidelines, MIOSHA standards related to COVID-19 and Executive Order 2020-114.

Visitors to Salon West are required to wash or sanitize their hands prior to or immediately upon entering the building. Stylists and customers are instructed to cover their mouth and nose with an appropriate mask. Clients are asked to stay in their vehicle until the time of their appointment and to call or text the salon to notify they are there.

“Our front door has to be locked for restricted entry orders as for now … also a mask is required,” said Westlund.

Stylist Alex Vincent said between appointments with clients they block off time to disinfect areas before the next client arrives. No more than ten people are allowed in the salon at a time.

“We are taking appointments as far out as the middle of July right now,” said Vincent.

Only the client is allowed in the building during the appointment.

“If you don’t look good, you don’t feel good,” said Krutina. “Going to a salon is more than just a haircut.”

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