Across the state of Texas, there’s a mixed reaction as Gov. Greg Abbott lifts restrictions on nail and hair salons beginning Friday.
The coronavirus was something the cosmetology world never could’ve prepared for. Now, after several weeks, Governor Greg Abbott says stylists, barbers and nail techs can get back to work Friday. The decision to go back is left up to the individual.
Myeisha Meeks owns Mye Stylz salon and works as the only stylist there. She said she’s not yet ready to reopen. She’s not convinced it’s safe.
“I think it is way too soon. Way too soon,” she said. “You have to touch the person. You have to. So, you’re going to be in contact.”
Courtney Warnell is co-owner of the Southern Sisters Salon and Boutique that houses more than 20 stylists. She plans to reopen her doors Friday.
“We’re calling everybody and getting everybody booked and my phone has been going crazy,” said Warnell.
She said it’s been 51 days since she last worked. And for some of her stylists, reopening is a matter of keeping the lights on and feeding their families.
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“Some of the women that work there are the breadwinners of their family and they need to go back to work,” she said. “It’s been hard for them.”
She would even argue that stylists, having built intimate relationships with their clients, are essential.
“We’re trained in domestic violence. We’re trained to look for human trafficking,” said Warnell.
Abbott said social distancing must be maintained between clients and working stations inside salons. Clients must wait outside for appointments if six feet of distance cannot be maintained. He also strongly encourages wearing masks.
Meeks worries some salon owners won’t bother following the rules.
“Some stylists are used to having two to three to four people in the salon at a time,” said Meeks. “We can’t just pop back in the shop and get back to work that quickly. It’s not that simple.”
She said making sure clients don’t overlap will take tedious planning.
“Whatever scheduling app or configuration that we have, we have to go through and redo that per client,” said Meeks.
But Warnell said she has the logistics planned, and said she’s purchased disposable capes and will sanitize throughout the salon.
“Our whole life is sanitation. We’ve been practicing sanitation since we first started,” said Warnell.
Meeks said she will not feel safe reopening her salon until the number of positive cases in Dallas County declines, and more testing is available. Still, she respects the decisions of others.
“I would just say use your best judgment,” she said. “Whatever you think is going to be best for you, that’s what you do.”
Governor Greg Abbott said gyms and other workout facilities will be allowed to open Monday, May 18, provided they operate under 25% capacity and that showers and locker rooms remain closed.