Despite restrictions on waiting areas, chair spacing and even conversation, customers flooded back to area salons and barbershops Monday.
Hair dressers said they’re now facing a backlog of clients, particularly since many scheduled hair appointments late last month but had to postpone after Gov. Ned Lamont reversed the plan to reopen barbershops and salons.
“My book is full until July,” said Tiffany Cruz, owner of Anna V. Salon in Wallingford. “I’m working seven days a week for the next few weeks.”
Sherry Bronson, owner of Trey’s Barbershop in Southington, said the shop’s four barbers are booked all week with appointments.
“Everyone has been coming in this morning,” Bronson said. “Which is a great thing, we’re excited about that.”
State restrictions and extra measures
In order to reopen, Lamont required the closure of waiting areas, six feet between chairs, masks for both clients and hairdressers, additional sanitation and the display of a number for customers to call to report pandemic restriction violations.
For Trey’s Barbershop, that meant moving barber chairs to allow for more space. Bronson said she’s also using a touch-free thermometer to take customer’s temperatures at the door.
“That’s just an extra precaution on our part,” Bronson said.
With no waiting area, clients show up at the time of their appointment and are let in.
“It’s been pretty smooth today so far,” Bronson said.
The state requirements also included limiting conversation between clients and hairdressers “to the extent practical.”
That’s a challenge, Cruz said. She’s been in business for 12 years and is close to her customers.
“My customers are like my family. They know I’m doing the best I can to take care of them,” she said. “My customers tell me stuff they wouldn’t tell their therapist.”
The masks do limit breathing, Cruz said, and also cut down on talk. There’s still many customers who want to update her on how they’ve been over the past few months.
With so many restrictions, Cruz considered whether it made sense to reopen but needed to after the recent move to Center Street.
“I put a ton of money into this place and a month later had to close,” she said.
Health department visits
In Meriden, Health Department representatives visited barbershops and salons to inform them of new regulations in order to reopen. Lea Crown, health director, said some shops were opening later in the week.
All the shops visited were in compliance with new rules, she said.
The Gentlemen’s Barbershop was among the Meriden businesses visited. Jason Frasco, a barber, said their chairs were already spaced apart and the only difficult part was wearing a face shield, which made it difficult to see.
The shop is seeing a flood of appointments, but Frasco said he expects business to level out soon.
“Everybody’s been needing something done for a few months now,” he said.