Appointment books are filling rapidly following months of quarantine
by Jennifer Yos
LANSING, Ill. (June 2, 2020) – The reopening of hair salons in Illinois may not garner the same supersized font headlines of—say, the end of Prohibition in 1933—but for hair salon patrons and their stylists, the inclusion of personal care businesses in the Illinois Phase 3 reopening plan is arguably monumental news. Many patrons of professional hair salons, some with overgrown hair, some with botched home haircuts, and others with visibly grey roots, have anxiously waited for this day.
Phase 3 of the “Restore Illinois Plan” officially began on Friday, May 29, for most of Illinois with the exception of Chicago, which begins Phase 3 on Wedneday, June 3. Many Lansing hair salons reopened on Friday or began preparations for reopening with appointment books filling up quickly.
Salon guests will certainly notice changes in procedures when they arrive for their appointments. Salon owners are following health guidelines set by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Brittany Dickens, owner of Fierce Manes hair salon, located at 17681 Torrence Ave. (inside of Kali Beauty), reopened on Friday and has made many changes in salon procedures for the protection of both guests and hair stylists.
- For now, guests are welcome by appointment only, and children under the age of 12 are not permitted.
- Before entering the salon, guests with appointments call from the parking lot to let the salon know they have arrived. This is to eliminate people congregating in a waiting area.
- A plexiglass window separates the guest from the receptionist upon arrival.
- The guest’s temperature is taken with a no-touch forehead thermometer. Any guest with a temperature above 100.4 is declined service.
- The guest is asked to use hand sanitizer and to wear gloves before entering the salon area, both of which are provided at the reception desk.
- Fierce Manes has stations that are 6 feet apart, but has also boxed off each station with tape for guests and their stylists to maintain social distancing from other salon guests and stylists.
- Hair stylists are provided face shields; guests are required to wear masks and are provided disposable capes.
- A thirty-minute gap between each guest gives the stylist time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the chair area and equipment before the next guest arrives.
Mena’s Hair Design
Mena Hanna, owner of Mena’s Hair Design, located at 2 River Pl., shared his thoughts about reopening his Lansing location, one of nine salons that he owns in the Chicagoland area. “First of all, thank God we’re still alive and existing!”
At the start of the pandemic, Hanna was concerned for the safety of his clients, his stylists, and their families, but he feels that now with safety protocols in place, his salon has the added social distancing advantage of generous square footage. His chairs will be used at 50% capacity, providing a ten-foot separation between clients. He intends to schedule only eight stylists at a time. On Thursday he drove long distance miles in order to procure 100 gallons of hand sanitizer for the reopening of his salons.
Kris O’Connor, owner of Classy Cuts , located at 3365 Ridge Rd., Suite 4, has also made changes to her salon in accordance with the state’s prescribed safety protocols. In addition to taking extra sanitation measures and monitoring temperature health, she is providing disposable masks for clients who are getting color or perm treatments in order to protect their own personal masks from exposure to chemicals. Her chairs are 8 ft. apart, and she has taken the extra measure of scheduling only two stylists to be present at a time even though Illinois allows for ten.
Hard not to hug
The important social connection between hair stylists and their clients is undeniable, and the reopening of salons is a welcomed return to social normalcy—albeit, modified—for patrons and stylists alike. O’Connor already has solid bookings two weeks ahead. “I keep telling the customers, you know, they think that they come here to feel good to see us, but now that we haven’t seen them, it makes us feel good to see them.” O’Connor, adds—perhaps revealing one of the hardest changes for all stylists—“It’s hard….when they walk in, I want to hug, and you can’t.”