Salons and barber shops open as state restrictions are eased

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Salons and barbershops opened for the first time June 22 after being shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At Salon DiMaria, in Point Pleasant Borough, owner Danielle DiMaria welcomed client Gina Karnick, of Point Pleasant Borough. (MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE OCEAN STAR)

POINT PLEASANT — Balloons, signs and sanitizing stations welcomed back clientele Monday as hair and nail salons, barber shops and other personal-care businesses resumed operation following a months-long closure due to the coronavirus.

According to local owners, the day was a joyous occasion for both them and clients alike.

“I wasn’t anxious at all. I was excited to get back to work,” said Danielle DiMaria, of Salon DiMaria. “The clients were just as excited. They felt comfortable, they felt safe, they were happy to be back, so overall the day ran very smoothly, so I have no complaints.”

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For Ms. DiMaria, the days leading up to the June 22 opening seemed more stressful than the day itself, as she and her staff worked to put various safety measures into effect, including health questionnaires and temperature checks of clients upon arrival, protective Plexiglas dividers between chairs and at manicure stations, sanitizing and moisturizing stations, outdoor seating for clients to sit and relax while color processes and much more.

“I think it was more stressful, the days approaching opening day, because I had to get everything set up and get all the guidelines and dividers in place. But I think once we started working, everything just worked out perfectly,” she said. “I feel like I have never left. 

“We were inundated with phone calls, messages, emails, so that was a stressful part, getting everybody in, because everybody wants June 22, but we just did it as fair as possible. We scheduled the people that we had to cancel the few months that we were closed first, and then we’ve been filling in from there with everyone that has been calling.”

For Ms. DiMaria, one of the hardest parts of the process of reopening was knowing she and her staff wouldn’t be able to engage with their clients as they typically have.

“We are very social with our clients. We hug them, we are attached to them, we have a very good rapport with them, so it is that part of it is different, where we can’t hug them when they come in because we’ve missed them,” she said.

“The masks make it a little difficult to have conversations with them sometimes, especially with a blow dryer going at the same time, so that is the only challenge so far I’m having. Other than that, everything else has been nice and feels pretty normal. The clients have been kind, and they have been patient, so I’m happy about that.”

Chelsea Sweerus, of Ocean Road Barber Shop, was pleased with how Monday’s opening went.

“Everything was good. I started preparing the day after we shut down … knowing that we were not going to be able to reopen without something,” she said.

“We started with the obvious: masks, gloves, extra sanitation products, all of that. As some of the lesser-affected states started to release their guidelines for hair salons and beauty shops, I started to watch what they were doing and … everything that we could use, I bought. We got UV sterilizers installed … so it has been an ongoing process all along.”

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.

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