Hair salons likely to face many obstacles upon reopening

MARQUETTE COUNTY — As of right now, hair salons in the state of Michigan are set to be allowed to reopen on May 28th. However, many salon owners are uncertain of whether they’ll actually be able to start seeing clients. And when they do, operations will likely look very different.

“I am sure that we are going to have to use PPE, being that we do touch every one of our clients,” said Michelle Yuhas, Owner of BeYoutiful Salon in Negaunee. “We’ll probably have clients wait in the car for their appointment until our clients leave our chair and go out and get them so we don’t have people close to each other in our waiting room. And we’re going to have to wear gloves and masks and probably provide masks for our clients.”

Hair dressers of course have to touch their clients to do their job. But with no way of knowing where the clients have been or what they’ve come into contact with, the idea of returning to business as usual can be worrying.

“That’s the big fear for everybody,” said Laura MacDonald, owner of Sisters Hair Company in Marquette. “We’re not scared to get back to doing hair; I can do that with my eyes closed. We’re scared of who has that client been with? Lots of essential workers are still out there. Are they a nurse? Are they a doctor? Are they working in law enforcement where they’ve been in someone’s home and they don’t know if they have the infection? So of course we want to get back to work, but are someone’s bangs worth someone getting sick?”

Once salons are able to get back to typical operations, they’re anticipating extensive waiting periods for bookings.

“Especially stylists that pre–book all of their appointments, they could have over a hundred clients that they need to reschedule,” said Yuhas. “I’m guessing that people are going to have to wait a month to two months maybe to get in, because we have to reschedule all of the appointments that were already on our pre–books for the last six weeks.”

Another big issue salon owners will have to face moving forward is the cost of keeping everyone healthy.

“The other question is expense,” explains MacDonald. “Who pays that expense if you’re using a new mask with every client, or new gloves, or a disposable cape? They’re not outrageously expensive, but I see 15 to 20 clients a day usually. Who pays that expense? Do we hand that on to the client? Do we upcharge on colors and cuts? All those questions are what everybody’s concerned about.”

Local hairdressers say that at the end of the day, the main concern in their industry is keeping both stylists and clients healthy. They do hope to find ways to return to work while keeping everyone safe in the near future.

To learn more about BeYoutiful Salon, click here. To learn more about Sisters Hair Company, click here.