Reopening Phase 2: How Hudson Valley Hair Salons Prevent COVID-19

Headspace Salon in Saugerties / Photo by Jasmin Attala

Local salon owners reveal their plans to ensure proper hygiene while giving picture-perfect cuts, trims, and blowouts.

Reopening Phase 2 is on the way, Hudson Valley. After Phase 1 commenced in the Capital Region on May 20 and in the Hudson Valley Region on May 26, both areas are ready to move onto the next chapter of New York State Governor Cuomo’s NY Forward Reopening Plan, with the Capital Region entering Phase 2 on June 3, followed by the Hudson Valley on June 9.

For hairdressers in the Hudson Valley, Phase 2 is the green light for which they’ve been waiting. After being mandated to shut down at the end of March, many are ready to welcome back customers safely after more than two months of no business. Yet with reopening comes a whole new set of rules and regulations to which they’ll have to adhere in order to continue operation. Most notably, while hair salons and barbershops can open under Phase 2, they are not allowed to conduct any other non-haircut-related services like beard and facial hair trimming, manicures and pedicures, makeup, threading, tweezing, or waxing.

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At Citrine Salon in Millbrook, for instance, owner Allyson Neri crafted a reopening plan to ensure her team and clients are safe, healthy, and happy.

“We understand things won’t be going back to ‘normal,’ but this will be our new normal for now and we want to make it as close as possible to what it was pre-COVID-19,” she explains.

Because Neri operates a smaller salon, she doesn’t anticipate much difficulty with regulating traffic and leaving time for proper cleaning. She and her team have all completed the Barbicide training certification and health safety courses and already have the necessary PPE to reopen.

“I think I can speak for many hairstylists in the Hudson Valley that we miss doing what we love,” Neri says. “Our career is to make people feel good and look good [and] the world needs that right now.”

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Like Neri, Headspace Salon co-owners Jasmin Attala and Stephanie Kerr-Matthews eagerly anticipate the day they can reopen their doors in Saugerties. They were in the midst of renovating their new location when the coronavirus crisis touched down in the Hudson Valley, so they faced a very real and immediate fear of coming up with the finances to support themselves and their employees.

“Our first and constant thought throughout all of this has been ‘how are we going to make two rent payments and contractor [payments] while making no income?’” Attala explains. “Thankfully we made it work (a PPP loan, a square business loan, and living off our savings) and are cautiously optimistic about our reopening.”

In anticipation of Phase 2, Headspace plans to use masks for both clients and stylists, with no double bookings allowed. The salon will incorporate additional time between appointments for full sanitization and will text and call clients for appointments instead of allowing them into the waiting room.

Over at JLK Salon, owner Jason Kron will do the same. The pandemic has been particularly hard for his business, which is located inside an open-air Simon mall in Nanuet.

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“I’ve been a salon owner in the county for about 12 years and this is definitely the hardest time,” he admits. To prepare for reopening, he plans on maximum sanitation policies, including cleansing hands and cell phones, staggering appointments, and taking staff temperatures.

Lynn Pelish at Entirely You Salon in Wappingers Falls will be doing the same. She’ll operate under 50 percent or less capacity and will utilize PPE and cleaning supplies at all times. As long as she can open, she’s ready to do what it takes to keep her clients happy.

“I can’t even keep up with the phone calls!” she says. “The clients are ready to return. [I’m] 40 years in the business and anxious to reopen.”

Also in Dutchess County, Marion Morris of Marion SalonSpa anticipates the day she can welcome clients back to her Salt Point salon. She and her team have already completed Barbicide’s free training and COVID-19 certification and plan to have team members wear PPE when appropriate. Inside the salon, Morris will post an easel with information about what the salon is doing to ensure client safety, including adding hand sanitizers at every work station, disinfecting regularly, and installing plexiglass shields and floor markers throughout the space.

“During the weeks [of self-isolation], we have been busy with virtual advanced hair cutting, coloring, and highlighting as well as virtual spa training,” Morris notes.

Now with Phase 2 in sight, she’s finalizing the salon’s COVID-19 safety protocol. She plans to reduce blow dry services and close the waiting room while providing customers with masks. Marion SalonSpa will not be taking walk-in services, instead opting for advanced booking with electronic payment. The salon also requests that individuals come to appointments solo as often as possible.

While the changes are many, the salons of the Hudson Valley are ready to reopen their doors for cuts, trims, colors, and smiles – even if they are under a face mask.

“We will always live it, breath it, and create the best experience we can,” Morris says.

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