Personal Care Businesses Prepare to Reopen

Taking client temperatures, using hand sanitizer and making sure all employees have their own tools are just a few of the ways that COVID-19 has transformed personal care salons

Michelle Kim, owner of Blooming Nail Salon in Carteret, says her phone has been ringing off the hook since announcing that her shop would be reopening on Monday, June 22. “I have been here for 17 years; this is the first time I have not seen my customers for a long time.”

Nail salons are among a number of personal care businesses across the state that are allowed to start operating again, with strict COVID-19 safety measures. “I have to buy many products to keep this store clean and safe; everything is expensive,” said Kim.

Kim said safety measures in the salon include customers needing to complete a form stating that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms before making an appointment. “We are taking customers by appointment only, and the customer will wait outside. And when they come inside I check their temperature and they must wash their hands. I removed a few tables and put in sneeze guards and everyone has to wear masks and gloves, and we try to use individual tools and disposable things.”

“All our retail is behind here because they are not allowed to touch the retail,” said Lisa Ramirez. She and Angie Garcia are co-owners of Viva Glam Hair Salon in Westfield, which is also booked solid for appointments.

Garcia said they have spent more than $7,000 on safeguards to prepare for this week’s reopening, adding that there are “sneeze guards on every station that are not 6 feet apart. We ordered a machine that’s going to take care of the whole sanitation when the client comes in, that will automatically take their temperature, sanitize their hands and sanitize their shoes prior to coming into the building.”

Ramirez said staff will have staggered time shifts to also ensure their safety. She said she has observed how other states have prepared salons and will take it one day and appointment at a time. “You have to have an appointment — no walk-ins. Most of the time we hear ‘get us in.’ We are actually going to work on Mondays for the next two weeks to try to accommodate our clients. It’s a big responsibility, taking on people’s lives, because I feel like that’s what’s most important and challenging.”

While you’ll see lots of social distancing and signage when you walk in, what customers won’t see are magazines and snacks on display. In addition, all three owners said that staff members are required to complete a COVID-19 certification course, which covers how to correctly disinfect workspaces. They also kindly remind customers they should be patient, as disinfecting seats and stations could lengthen waiting  periods.

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