The reopening of Texas continues Friday as salons, barbershops, nail salons and tanning facilities are allowed to open their doors for the first time in well over a month.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced said these businesses can reopen to customers provided they maintain social/physical distancing between customer stations and that those in waiting areas are either able to maintain the 6-foot distance between them or wait outside.
Abbott also said that stylists and customers are strongly encouraged to wear masks while services are being performed.
Novak Hair Studios in Fort Worth have been preparing to reopen for a while.
“Literally the day we announced that we were closing our doors – from that moment forward, we started proactively thinking about all the ways we were going to increase sanitation and try to make sure that Novak’s was one of the safest possible places to be,” co-owner Benjamin Novak Hudgins said.
Novak Hair Studio is one of the largest salons in North Texas and should have no trouble social distancing.
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“We are roughly 10,000 square feet, so we are on the larger side of salons,” Novak said. “We actually house about 80 different service providers.”
Novak said sanitation is always top of mind in the beauty industry and they will ramp up efforts even more.
“It’s going to be our job to really make sure that we are pioneering a space that goes above and beyond sanitation. With our sustainability in mind, we’re also implementing some new UV light sanitizers,” he said. “[We are] trying to make sure that we are kind of over-the-top with sanitation and I think that will stick around.”
Along with sanitation efforts, the studio will also change the customer experience to become more digital.
“We have actually moved our waiting room to a text message service,” Novak said. “So, what we are going to be doing is our guests are going to be asked to wait in the car and then they are going to text us when they are here so we can invite them in whenever their stylist is totally prepared and ready and sanitized for them.”
Other salons in Salon Purple in Fort Worth will be opened on Tuesday, when owner Terry Whiddon said most of their stylists will return. He's using Monday as a training day for his staff in preparation for all of the changes.
NBC 5 spoke with Whiddon on Friday when the salon held a soft-opening for only a few clients. Whiddon said this was done to get himself adjusted to what he will have to train his staff on.
"Even the basics of how to wash your hands for 20 seconds and why to scrub, why it’s important to scrub off the virus," he said. "How to handle their mask if you touch your mask, now you’re contaminated. Where to put your mask when you eat. Social distancing which is going to be the biggest challenge for us. We’re such a communal kind of like [place], all our clients talk and hang out together."
All employees will be required to wear a mask, and guests will be asked to do the same.
"We’ll have extra masks on hand and for the tricky services, where they say…'Oh, I can’t do the service because the mask is in the way', we’re going to give them a cloth or a paper towel disposable to put on their face while we do their hair," Whiddon explained.
Other owners like Bethanie Brewer said she does not plan to open her salon yet. Brewer told NBC 5, she may reopen at the end of the month and hopes restrictions will be loosened by then.
In a Facebook live post updating her clients, Brewer said she's working every day on scheduling.
"I want your experience to be a great one and I want you to have great hair, so knowing that – will you please be gracious with me? And be patient with me," she said. "Know that I not only have your best hair care needs in mind, I also have your experience in mind so trust me with your hair. Trust me with this decision."
On May 18, gyms will be allowed to be reopened as part of the reopening process. That is also when restrictions on restaurants with outdoor seating are expected to be further relaxed.