BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — With new safety protocols in place, local hair salons are serving customers again.
Definitions by Design, a 3,000-square-foot salon located on Dussel Drive, opened to a steady stream of clients on May 15 following the eight-week shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Salon owner Peggy George was among the many hairdressers happy to see her customers again.
“When we closed down, so many of my clients bought gift cards and sent monetary donations to the salon. It’s amazing the support you get from people. My clientele are the ones that carried me through this,” she said.
With strict social distancing guidelines in place due to concerns that a second coronavirus wave could hit, the state of Ohio has allowed hair and nail salons, barbershops and tanning facilities and other businesses to open.
Prior to entering a salon, for example, clients must answer a series of questions and receive a temperature check. Those in the salon, both customers and stylists, wear face masks and all workstations must be 6 feet apart. Waiting areas have been removed, along with magazines, coffee stations and any other type of fixture thought to allow germs to spread easily. Handwashing and sanitation stations have also been installed in many areas.
Definitions by Design can house up to 17 stylists at one time, and clear shower curtains were installed between stations to provide an additional barrier between them. A large Plexiglas shield was also installed at the receptionist station. In addition to stylists, the salon also houses one nail tech, one esthetician and a massage therapist. There is also an opening for another nail tech.
Stations, brushes and combs are cleaned between client visits and receptionists provide extra sanitation, but many of the steps taken have always been part of cleaning protocol, George said.
Stylists are only allowed to book one client at a time and clients are asked to come alone. Prior to opening, George also called the state board inspector to review the facts and guidelines set forth in Ohio.
“We talked for 90 minutes and that took the weight of the world off of me,” she said. “I wanted informed answers to a lot of the rumors and false facts people are spreading out of the panic they are feeling. It is a high-anxiety time, and we have to be respectful both ways. Getting a beauty service is an elective thing to do and if you aren’t ready yet, that’s OK. In the same way, if a stylist isn’t ready to go back to work, then don’t do it, that’s fine. For me, it is a privilege to make people feel good in this crazy time and personally, I am embracing it.”
At The Salon Uptown in uptown Maumee, clients began calling immediately after the lift order was announced.
“The governor didn’t even get the words out of his mouth and we began getting calls,” said stylist Bridgette Johnson.
Several family members work at the salon – Johnson’s sister Robin Kamlani owns the business and Robin’s daughter Asia Kamlani also works there.
At 1,000 square feet, maintaining safety guidelines at the salon has been manageable, Robin said.
“Because of the size, we can easily control it,” she said.
Stylists see clients on the weekends and evening hours except on Sundays when the salon is closed for full sanitation. Asia said that clients have been very understanding, but she admits that wearing a mask all day is not easy.
“After a 15-hour day, my face broke out,” she said. “We’re doing what we can to get everyone in. Every one of our clients has been so nice and so patient.”
Alice & Co. Salon, which is also located in uptown Maumee, also began fielding calls immediately after the lift order was announced. Owner Melissa Timmons, who opened the salon in 2018, said that her phone immediately began ringing.
“It was nuts. I was on my phone from 2:00 to 8:00 scheduling people. It was instantaneous. I think all of us experienced the same thing,” she said.
Alice & Co. is 2,400 square feet and houses four hairstylists and four nail techs, plus a receptionist. While Plexiglas shields have been installed at the nail tech stations and clear shower curtains provide barriers at the shampoo bowl, the hairstylists have their own individual rooms to work in, which makes social distancing for them much easier, Timmons said.
Like many salon owners and stylists, Timmons said that trying to manage during the shutdown was incredibly difficult and that being open and working again, even under strict guidelines, is a relief.
“The shutdown was devastating,” she said. “Especially not knowing what we were going to be able to do and none of us were making money and we still had bills to pay. I still had to maintain the salon and I didn’t have an income. It was probably one of the hardest times of my life.”