Salons and barber shops reopen with new measures in place

Local barber shops and hair salons saw a big turnout Monday, their first day of being open after seven weeks.

It was clear that Jackson County residents have been wanting some hair care.

Individual services such as hair salons and barbershops, which require close contact with others, closed after the stay-at-home order was issued March 23 by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Holcomb’s roadmap to safely reopen Indiana has many counties reopening now throughout the state, spread out in several stages lasting until July.

Holcomb said those personal service businesses reopening must follow social distancing guidelines and operate by appointment only.

So the next time a client goes to a beautician or barber, it will be a different experience.

Ashley Hankins, who owns Blush and Brush Beauty Bar in Seymour, said she is hanging in there, adjusting and adapting to the new normal and way of life.

“We’ve been closed for seven weeks, so March 23 was our last official day open,” Hankins said. “About opening back up today, I feel both anxious and excited with the new rules and regulations.”

Hankins said they are glad to be back and taking care of their clients, and they have all missed each other.

“Before opening back up, we have deep cleaned the salon two or three times, and we’ve had to reschedule all of our clients,” she said. “We’ve had to get hand sanitizer and Lysol and stock up on those kinds of things, and we purchased masks.”

She said they’ve also written up a safety plan, there is a waiver their clients must sign when coming in for an appointment and there are some questions they ask.

“We’re making the best of the situation that we can,” she said. “Our staff is just really glad to be back together because we’re just like a family.”

Hankins said they have had a lot of calls since reopening, and the first day back, all appointment slots were filled.

“We have to make time to clean and sanitize between each client, too,” she said. “Luckily, the salon is big enough that the stations were already spaced 6 feet apart.”

Everyone at the salon took an economic hit because they could not receive unemployment due to the fact they’re all self-employed. It was a hard and trying time for everyone, Hankins said.

“Lots of weddings got rescheduled, and proms were canceled,” she said. “March and April are typically our biggest months business-wise.”

Connie Beck at The Buzz Hair Design Studio in Seymour said some salon guidelines have changed since they were last open seven weeks ago.

The salon has a new look with clients’ safety in mind. They have installed Plexiglas safety screens, and the entire salon has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized from the ceiling to the floor.

“We do a health prescreening with everyone before they come. Then we meet them outside and give them a mask if they don’t have one,” Beck said. “Then the client checks in, uses the hand sanitizer and is brought to one of the stations with a fresh cape.”

The Buzz owner Becky Morris said she thinks the extra measures they’ve taken will help clients feel more secure in a safe environment.

“We had regular appointments already scheduled, and we’re still catching up from the time we were off,” Morris said. “But the phone has been ringing quite a bit because I think people know we’re trying to get back into the schedule.”

Morris said she was grateful to be back at work.

“It was really hard being off on quarantine and not knowing when we’d be able to come back in,” she said. “We’ve been closed since March, so it has been a while.”

She said it was difficult because they didn’t qualify for the Small Business Administration  loans, so there were some economic hardships.

“The unemployment for the self-employed people has been somewhat confusing because they’ve not had anything like that before,” Morris said.

“It just finally came through for self-employed people on Friday, and a lot of people did get their back unemployment, but a lot of people did not.”

Morris said Monday was the biggest and busiest day they have had in the 20 years the salon has been open.

Client Lisa Wieneke was there Monday getting a trim.

“The last time I was here was actually March 23, so the timing worked out just right for my regular appointment,” Wieneke said. “Although I almost gave up my appointment so my husband could get his hair cut. He’s pretty anxious.”

Dick Clampitt co-owns Rudy and Dick’s Barber Shop in Seymour, which he runs alongside business partner and best friend, Rudy Ault.

Along with many other small businesses, their shop has been closed since March, but they reopened for business Monday morning.

“We opened our doors this morning, and for now, we’re open the regular hours,” Ault said. “But we’ll have to see, we might be running over.”

Ault said for the customers’ safety, they are wearing masks, disinfecting everything and following Holcomb’s guidelines.

“Before all of this, we were taking walk-ins, but now, we are seeing customers by appointment only,” Ault said. “It was really busy today, and we’re already booked up until Thursday.”