'We're 100% Booked': Michigan Salons Reopen After 3-Month Virus Shutdown

WWJ News
June 15, 2020 - 5:35 pm

(WWJ) For the first time in three months, the "open" sign is up at hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas, tattoo parlors and other personal care businesses in Michigan. 

Customers were lined up at 8 a.m. sharp on Monday, the first day allowed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, outside The Beauty Lounge at the Orchard Mall shopping center in West Bloomfield. 

While co-owner Lisa Yaldoo admitted she was a bit apprehensive about how things would go, she's thrilled to be back in business.

"Honestly, it's been great! We are working every other station, so everyone's really been feeling comfortable; the salon feels very spacious," Yaldoo told WWJ's Jon Hewett. "The waiting area being outside has helped a lot, because you don't feel like there's an overwhelming number of people inside the salon, so that makes a huge difference."

How we protect you during the wash! Taking all measures necessary to protect you!!

A post shared by THE BEAUTY LOUNGE (@thebeautylounge) on

Yaldoo said making customers feel safe is job one.

"I think that when they realize all the safety measures we have out into place, and how seriously and responsibly we are taking all that, they have felt really comfortable coming in and making their appointments," Yaldoo said. "And for anyone who is elderly, has underlying issues or has any kind of worry, we actually offer special hours for them."

Among new safety measures in place are temperature checks, a brief questionnaire on customer's health, masks and six-feet social distancing. Customers may also find plexiglass partitions at some businesses, and there will be no magazines to read. 

At Bocci Salon in Sterling Heights, co-owner Jay Bocci says they're booked solid through June, and the phone won't stop ringing.

"We're 100% booked for two weeks, at the flow we're allowed" he said. "So with the distancing, every other station, we really don't have any openings for the most part almost until Fourth of July weekend."

Bocci was braving for a very long and busy Day 1.

"We've been open since 7 a.m., and surprisingly super smooth right now," Bocci said. "Clients are amazing, following all instructions. The salon is kind of operating at a very nice, calm place...and I'm holding my breath, but it's actually great so far."

While some in the industry have said they'll have to hike prices to accommodate the new rules, Bocci said his will mostly remain the same; with just a temporary $1 surcharge to help cover sanitation. 

Personal care businesses, and hair services in particular have been a hot-button issue in Michigan during the pandemic. Last month, a dozen or so barbers and stylists defied executive orders to give free haircuts on the Michigan Capitol lawn, and several were ticketed for disorderly conduct. After refusing to back down in court battle with an Owosso barber, Whitmer raised eyebrows and some ire when she suggested Michiganders who couldn't wait should “Google” how to cut their own hair.