GENESEE COUNTY — After weeks of uncertainty, Michigan barbers and salon shop owners have now been given the go-ahead to open their doors once again.
On Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that salons and barbershops in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan can reopen on June 10, while salons and barbershops in the rest of the state will be allowed to open on June 15.
“We appreciate Governor Whitmer for listening to the concerns and safety plans of the salon industry and for announcing reopening dates for the industry,” said Mike Sarafa, CEO of the Alline Group and spokesperson for the Safe Salons of Michigan coalition. “(This) announcement is the green light the industry needed to get back to serving customers and contributing to the economy in a safe and sanitary environment.”
Prior to Friday’s announcement, Michigan was the only state where barbershops and salons remained fully closed, even as salons in 49 other states were either fully or partially reopened or had a scheduled reopening date. Barbershops and salons were also not included on the list of businesses that could reopen under phase four of Whitmer’s MI Start Safe Plan.
Laurie Burghardt, co-owner of Uptown Hair Boutique in Flushing, said that she was somewhat baffled by Whitmer’s initial decision to keep barbershops and salons closed throughout June but is grateful for the governor’s recent change of heart.
“It was a little disheartening to be told that we couldn’t reopen,” Burghardt said. “We were going on 11 weeks without revenue coming in, aside from curbside supply services. Now, we can’t wait to get our customers back to looking good and feeling good.”
Burghardt said that she and co-owner Tracey Selley have already implemented several safety measures at their salon, such as putting up plastic sheets between hair stations and installing Plexiglas barriers on nail tables to separate customers and nail technicians. Customers will also have to call ahead for an appointment, wear a mask upon entering the salon and avoid congregating inside.
“We’ve been ramping up and getting prepared for our customers to come back in,” Burghardt said. “As licensed salon owners, we’re highly educated in the sanitation part of the business. I feel we are capable of keeping people safe.”
Uptown Hair Boutique, like many local salons, is planning to reopen on June 15.
As they reopen, barbershops and salons will have to follow the state’s comprehensive safety plan, which includes:
• Daily health screenings for workers and requiring staff to stay home if sick.
• Access control for customers and guests, including staggered entry, appointment only where possible and more.
• Social distancing and installing barriers in salons and barbershops where needed.
• Enhanced sanitation and hygiene requirements throughout the salon between clients.
• Personal protective equipment worn by all workers and clients during services.
• Deep cleaning with disinfectants each day after closing.