BROOMFIELD, Colo. – While the routine may differ from state to state and county to county, hair salons all over the country are following new guidelines to resume business after nearly two months of being required to shut down.
At Sara's Cutting Edge in Broomfield, Colorado, hairstylist and owner Sara Mondragon runs through a myriad of steps. Once Mondragon's customer sends a text that she or he has arrived, she greets her client at the door, takes their belongings to place in a bin, and checks their temperature.
Then she goes through a list of symptoms, making sure they aren't experiencing any potential symptoms of COVID-19. Once they're cleared for service, she places a freshly cleaned cape on them.
As soon as one client leaves, she sanitizes the chairs, the counters, the washing station, and anything else that was touched before the next client arrives.
Colorado is one of 28 states so far to allow hair salons to reopen. The day Mondragon was told she’d have to temporarily close her business is one she’ll never forget.
“It was awful. I cried because it was the first time in my life that I actually wasn’t going to have a job,” Mondragon said.
Mondragon did something she’s never had to do before – file for unemployment. But now she can continue earning an income again.
“I was happy that I was going to open up, but I was kind of scared too because we just don’t know enough about this virus.”
One sick client and Mondragon would be putting the rest of her family at risk.
“I have a client that was scheduled to come in tomorrow at 10 o’ clock. She’s been a client of mine for 18 years and she sent me a text message and told me she’d have to cancel her appointment tomorrow because she tested positive for COVID,” Mondragon said.
A situation like that is why hairstylists have been instructed to go through so many precautionary measures. Mondragon says she’s lost a few clients who think it’s an invasion of privacy, but Kayla – who hasn’t seen more than three people the past seven weeks – doesn’t mind the extra steps.
“It’s important to keep everyone safe, and so it’s something that I’m willing to do just to be able to experience something a little normal,” customer Kayla said.
Wearing a mask all day or even for the duration of one hair appointment isn’t very comfortable. However, Infectious Diseases Assistant Professor Joshua Rhein says it’s one of the most important rules to follow.
“You don’t have to necessarily be sick, be coughing, be sneezing, to spread that virus,” Rhein said.
According to Rhein, these are the basic guidelines salons are being asked to follow: hairstylists and clients should wear masks, salon chairs should be separated at least six feet apart, and commonly used areas need to be sanitized often. It’s also advised for stylists to provide a freshly cleaned cape to each customer.
If you’re immunocompromised, Rhein suggests continuing to stay home.
“I can’t say that even if every precaution is followed perfectly, that there’s not going to be any transmission,” Rhein said.
Mondragon says she’s also been asked to keep a tracking sheet of symptoms and temperatures, so if anyone does get sick, they can track everyone who’s potentially been exposed. Sanitizing between each client, and following all national, state and local regulations, Mondragon is confident she’s doing everything she can to safely continue her business.
“All you can do is just make all the adaptions that you can for the time being and just hope that eventually things get back to normal. I don’t like the new normal. I just want our new normal back,” Mondragon said.
Nonetheless, she’s thankful to be open again, and she’s appreciated having more time for herself the past few months. She wants to encourage others to reflect and find inner peace during this time.