AUSTIN, Texas - Gov.Greg Abbott is allowing hair salons, nail salons and tanning salons to reopen Friday, May 8. However, they will be required to follow strict guidelines if they do so.
"I mean, people have been calling us this entire time," said Laura North, owner of Headspace Salon and Co-op.
Regardless of the ongoing demand for hair services, the chairs inside of her salon have been empty for two months.
"We made the decision to close down even a little earlier before it was mandated, just because we felt it was the socially responsible thing to do until we really understood what was going on," North said.
Without any customers, North turned to other sales to keep her business operational. "I started to lose my mind and needed to get busy and back to work. I realized that there was this huge need for creating healthy spaces in people's homes, so I opened up the plant sale side of things," said North.
She sold two truckloads of plants in just hours out of her salon, which wasn’t even a year old when it temporarily shut down. North figured that would continue until at least May 18, until she heard the governor announce hair salons could reopen as soon as May 8. "It really threw the whole industry for a loop," North said.
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Under the new orders, salons will need to take several precautions. Stylists can only have one customer at a time and are encouraged to use an appointment system. Clients can only wait in the salon if six feet of distance can be maintained, otherwise, they must wait outside or in their cars. All supplies and spaces must be disinfected between customers. Stylists and clients are also asked to wear masks.
North said meeting those requirements will take her a couple more weeks of planning.
"There’s a lot of supplies that are required to operate, which are not that easily accessible anymore. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, masks, all of those things that might’ve been more easily accessible before all of this, now all have a week-long waitlist or are incredibly more expensive than they were before," said North.
Once all the supplies are in, her salon will start by rebooking the hundreds of appointments that were canceled. She’s planning to offer extended hours to try and get through the backlog.
"I know that, once the doors do open, there’s not gonna be any slowness in our business at all," North said. "Just give us the grace and the patience, because we’re figuring it out as fast as we possibly can."
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