Blooming Nail Salon owner Michelle Kim says her phone has been ringing off the hook since announcing that her shop would be reopening on June 22nd. “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 part of a number of other personal care businesses across the state that are allowed to start operating again along with strict COVID safety measures. “I have to buy many products to keep this store clean and safe everything is expensive”
Kim says some of the Cateret salon’s safety measures include customers needing to complete a form stating that they do not have any COVID symptoms before making an appointment. “We are taking customers by appointment only and the customer will wait outside and when they come inside they must take their temperature and wash their hands. I removed a few tables and everyone has to wear masks and gloves and we will use individual tools and disposable things.”
“All our retail is behind here because they are not allowed to touch the retail,” said Lisa Ramirez. Ramirez and Angie Garcia are co-owners of Viva Glam Hair Salon in Westfield, that is also booked solid with appointments. Garcia says they have spent more than $7,000 on safe guards to prepare for next week’s reopening. Garcia added, “the sneeze guards on every station that are not 6 feet apart. We ordered a machine that would take care of the client when they walk in that would take their temperature, sanitize their hands and sanitize their shoes prior to coming into the building.”
Ramirez says staff will have staggered time shifts to also ensure their safety. She says 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 Monday to accommodate our clients. It’s a big responsibility to taking on people’s lives which is 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. All three owners say their staff are required to complete a COVID 19 certification course, that covers how to correctly disinfect work spaces. They all kindly remind customers they should also be patient as disinfecting seats and stations could lengthen wait periods.