Hair salons hit the ground running with limited reopening while other businesses aren’t far behind

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DILLON — Main streets in Summit County started to look a bit different on Friday as business shutdown orders were loosened. Starting Friday, May 1, personal service businesses were allowed to open so long as the required social distancing and other health protocols were put in place. Retail stores were also allowed to begin scheduling customers for limited in-person shopping

While some retail stores and personal service businesses have decided to open while others are waiting, the service that seems to be the most in demand is a haircut. Melanie Gallegos, owner of Breckenridge Hair Co., said the salon is completely booked up. 

“We’re having a big surge right now because every one of our clients wants in and everybody in the whole United States wants in because everybody has been two months without a haircut,” Gallegos said. 

Gallegos said the salon can accommodate three hair stylists working at a time with clients. Gallegos said that typically there are six to seven people working at a time but that stylists are working longer shifts to keep up with the demand. She noted that when booking clients, stylists are adding an additional 15 minutes to each appointment to allow for thorough cleaning. Despite the high demand, Gallegos said things have been running fairly smoothly at the salon and that people have been complying with the health protocols.

“Everybody’s had their masks on and we’ve made it work around colors, haircutting,” Gallegos said. “I feel that everybody kind of just slowed down their whole life a little bit and everybody seems a little more patient.”

While Gallegos’ salon is busy right now with an influx of people wanting a haircut, she said it’s hard to compare it to other years as there are fewer stylists working and May is typically the time when Breckenridge Hair Co. starts to provide hair services for up to 10 weddings per week, but with most weddings postponed for now, it is yet another business affected by postponed and canceled weddings. Gallegos said many of her older clients are waiting for the surge in customers to pass before they come in for services. 

Melanie Ash, owner of Melanie Ash Integrative Beauty, also opened up shop on Friday. Ash said she is currently seeing about four to five clients per day. Since Ash’s salon was closed for over six weeks, she said her and the other stylist at the salon are working to get the clients whose appointments were canceled in as well as other clients who are eager to get a haircut. Ash said people have been very patient with the process of reopening as there is already a waitlist for clients to receive services.

“It’s a new way of doing business but it’s so fun just to see everyone,” Ash said. “Clients have said it’s been good for their soul to get back in.”

Ash also offers different coaching services through her business and said that throughout the shutdown she’s been able to continue this virtually, but is now able to do some in-person one-on-one sessions. 

To keep safety at the forefront of the operation, Ash said she is doing a symptom check with each client before they come in and is asking if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or if they have been in contact with a known novel coronavirus patient. She said she is asking anybody who is not feeling well to reschedule. Ash is taking scheduled appointments only and asks that clients wait outside or in their car and text the salon when they arrive so that they can be met outside.

Ash is keeping the salon clean through standard sanitation methods but is using UV lights at night and for a few minutes throughout the day as an extra sanitation measure. Melanie Ash Integrative Beauty is also keeping disposable masks on hand in case people come in with facial coverings that are difficult to keep on while cutting or coloring hair. 

“We’ve done the legwork,” Ash said. “We’re being as safe as possible.”

Alpine Spa and Salon owner Erin Webster said she is in the process of opening for hair, massage and waxing but won’t be taking appointments until May 16 in order to get set up and make sure her salon is in compliance with health orders. She said she is working to stock up on necessary cleaning supplies and, once open, will have a 30 minute transition time between clients to properly disinfect spaces.  

Stork & Bear Co. owner Mary Elaine Moore has been open for delivery and curbside pick-up throughout the shutdown but decided to open for limited in-person shopping starting on Monday, May 4. She said people can make appointments or can come in if they happen to walk by and the store is empty. Moore added that if people see something they like in the window but they can’t come into the store, she can retrieve the item and deliver it curbside.

Moore said she would allow two customers in the store at a time because the store is made up of three different spaces and totals around 3,000 square feet. Moore said that she already has one appointment for Monday, but like all retailers hosting limited reopenings, she isn’t sure what to expect.

“We’re all dipping our toes at the same time,” Moore said.

Stork & Bear Co. will have signage up alerting people of the health requirements, such as wearing facial coverings, and Moore said she will have large containers of hand sanitizer at the entrance of the store for people to use before and after coming into the store.  

“My main priority is to keep people safe and comfortable,” Moore said. “I want to be respectful of their time and their comfort level.”

Moore said she has been kept somewhat busy filling and shipping orders during the shutdown because she carries a lot of educational pieces for kids, which parents have been buying to help with homeschooling and entertainment or for quarantine birthdays and various holiday celebrations. Moore said the local business has been interesting and she can now make recommendations to parents over the phone or through photographs of toys and crafts from years of seeing individual children wander through her store.

“It’s brought a lot of joy to me,” Moore said. “We really rely on the locals and we’ve been fortunate to have a nice local following.”

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