Despite Dallas County announcing the highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases this week, Governor Abbott is forging forward with his economic reopening plan. After allowing partial reopenings of malls, museums, and restaurants on May 1, this coming Friday will see a new wave of Texas businesses permitted to welcome clients: salons.
As is the case with almost every industry right now, the reaction has been mixed. Some Dallas salons plan to open as soon as they’re able, finally beginning to chip away at what is likely an overwhelming waitlist for appointments. “As soon as we’re given a direct answer on when we can open, we’re going to open up our books to the clients we’ve had to cancel on,” says Osgood O’Neil co-founder Bruce Osgood. “We’re going to have an easel with guidelines for our clients when they walk in.” Masks will be worn at all times in the salon, clothes will be placed in bags instead of being hung up, and though one Osgood location has its liquor license (the longtime salon group has outposts on Lovers Lane and in Snider Plaza — the Knox location closed in March after 13 years), they don’t plan on serving drinks just yet.
Alternatively, my friend Beau Bollinger, who owns Hairstory Salon on Henderson Avenue, has urged salons to stay closed, pushing for personal service-based businesses (whose nature demands close proximity) to be in the last wave of openings, and for small businesses to have equal access to disaster relief funds.
But whether salons open this Friday or well into summer, it’s important to know what plans are being put in place to protect employee and client wellness before you go.
Last week, I reached out to a few salons (including Hairstory and Osgood O’Neil) to see if they would be willing to share their thoughts on reopening safety in an uncertain future. Newly opened Pressed Roots, opened by Harvard Business School graduate Piersten Gaines with the goal of creating a DryBar-like destination for textured hair, came back with their plan immediately.
“We are already getting the ball rolling on establishing our new safety procedures and guidelines. The great part about our industry is that about 50% of the process that is involved with getting a cosmetology license is about sanitation and safety. Salons are already one of the cleanest places that a person can be,” Gaines says. “With that being said, we are taking a ton of measures to ensure the safety of both our customers and our stylists.”
Pressed Roots will not be operating at full capacity upon opening to ensure a safe social distance and will be by appointment-only. In addition to stylists, clients will also be required to wear masks in the salon and are encouraged from bringing guests. “No touch” greetings will be enforced and employee temperatures will be taken at the start of each shift.
“All of our stylists will be required to complete the Barbicide Sanitation refresher certification course before getting back on the Pressed Roots floor. We’ll not only be requiring our stylists to wear masks, but we’ll also require them to do a deep cleaning of their hands, the station and their tools after every single appointment and allow at least 20 minutes before the station can be used to properly disinfect,” Gaines adds.
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As we gear up to re-open Pressed Roots, the safety and well-being of our staff and guests is our top priority. Never has that duty to serve been clearer than it is now. That is why we are making several changes to many of our procedures to employ stringent cleaning and safety practices to support the health and wellness of everyone in the Pressed Roots community. These measures include everything from spray treatments and disinfectants, to lowering the operating capacity of the salon. We are here to help you maintain your beauty in this new world of zoom meetings and face masks. Our focus is, and always will be, taking care of the #pressedgang. Gift cards and future appointment dates now available. #safetyfirst #dallashairstylist #straighthairstyles #mothersdaygiftideas @tressgoddess
Like the many local salons offering video consults or root touch-up kits, Pressed Roots has found innovative ways to serve clients during quarantine. The “Hot Off the Press” virtual series launched on April 24 in an effort to answer an overwhelming amount of questions about caring for hair during the lockdown.
“While we’ve been answering most of the questions directly, we figured that it would be really helpful to our followers if we shared some of the most common questions directly on our page — and voila, “Hot Off the Press” was born,” Gaines says. “It is literally a recorded zoom call, so nothing too fancy, but very authentic.”
At the time of publishing, Pressed Roots had opened appointment bookings. The first available are on Saturday, May 16.