PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Reopening is on the mind of many in New York's North Country as they approach potentially hitting phase two of reopening, allowing personal care industries like barbershops and hair salons to reopen. Our Kelly O'Brien spoke to stylists about reopening and what the city of Plattsburgh is doing to take extra precautions.
I'm not sure who is more excited about the possibility of reopening-- the stylists or the clients who need their hair done-- but the shops and salons I spoke to say the experience will be different.
Runs with Scissors hair salon has sat at 15 Court Street for the last seven years.
"I'm the only stylist here," owner Shannon Perrea said.
Perrea says the last few months have been stressful.
"You know, you don't realize how much you miss people, honestly," Perrea said.
She and other stylists and barbers are eager to fill their empty chairs.
"It's a whole new opening, a whole new way of cutting hair. It's going to be great," said Donna Evans of Joe's Barber Shop.
Salons and barbershops, along with other personal care industry workers, fall under phase two for reopening in New York. As long as there is no spike in hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the North Country region, phase two could start as early as this weekend.
"My customers, all our customers are just waiting to get a haircut," Evans said.
Ramping up for reopening, Mayor Colin Read this week is handing out Personal Protective Equipment or PPE to those in the personal care industry outside Runs With Scissors Salon. He started out with 200 kits. Fifty were already gone Wednesday afternoon. Each contains five N95 masks, face shields and the professional beauty association's guidelines to reopening, as well as info on a Friday free webinar from the Chamber of Commerce.
"We need our hairstylists and salon workers to be protected so they don't get infected and then carry the infection on," said Read, D-Plattsburgh.
Back to Perrea, she says she used the time her salon was shut down to redo it, claiming it will be almost unrecognizable to her clients.
"Really to simplify everything, take all the extra stuff out, not a lot of fabric," she said.
There is still no clear answer on what a shop needs in order to open, but Perrea says she knows one thing-- the salon will be heavily sanitized, there will be an hour in between every client, one client in at a time and masks will be mandatory.
"These are the guidelines that you need to understand to keep you safe and to keep me safe," she said.
I did speak with other salons and shops that said they are going to hold off on reopening right away. They want to make sure they have their salons compliant with whatever guidelines the state puts out there.
As for that free webinar this Friday, they say it's not required for reopening but it is highly recommended. Click here for more information.