NEW BETHLEHEM – After two-and-a-half months of silent blow dryers and idle scissors, Clarion County hairstylists are retooled and back in business in a post-quarantine world.
With their opening on Friday, May 29 — as Clarion and several surrounding counties entered the green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan — came significant changes in how local salons operate and service their clients.
Debbi Zamperini, owner of Debz Twisted Scissors in New Bethlehem, said Monday that she and other hairstylists in the area have stayed in close contact throughout the quarantine to ensure that when their openings came they were all on a parallel course.
“We all have to follow the protocol set by the state board of cosmetology,” Zamperini said of all hair salons, noting that some changes post-quarantine include limiting the number of people in the salons and more frequent sanitation. “It’s a little more work, but we have to do what we have to do and follow the rules.”
At her Wood Street salon, Zamperini said that she is maintaining social distancing by separating the work stations with shower curtains. She removed all pillows and throw rugs and continues the practice of sanitizing all equipment, doorknobs and work stations between clients.
“We’re sterilizing all of our equipment, which we have always done,” she said, noting that she and her stylists are also changing capes between clients and wearing masks and gloves when necessary. They are also encouraging clients to wear masks, if possible, when inside the shop, and hand sanitizer is readily available.
There are also new procedures with regulating foot traffic in and out of the salon. Zamperini, like many other stylists in the area, is operating all services at her salon by appointment only and having clients call upon arrival. Clients must also wait in their vehicles until service is available. Walk-ins are not being accepted at this time, but Zamperini said they have posted the phone number on the door for individuals who come to the shop without an appointment to schedule one.
Entrance to the shop is restricted to clients only, Zamperini noted, and occupancy and appointments are staggered in order to maintain the four stylists and one client each rule.
“We’re not doing double bookings right now...which is very unusual for us because I’ll often put two colors in, or book a cut in between a color,” she said. She explained, however, that if members of the same household each book an appointment, they can be in the shop together.
Of all the restrictions, Zamperini said limiting the number of people in the shop is maybe the most difficult for her and her staff.
“My shop is very social...and we as hairdressers live to talk,” she said. “It’s been tough not to have that camaraderie.”
Like most hairstylists, Zamperini said she and her staff are doing everything they can to accommodate their clients’ needs.
“I’m working seven days a week right now, and a lot of my girls are doing double shifts just trying to catch up [with appointments],” she said, noting that her salon is currently working through almost three months worth of back appointments. “We’re trying to get everyone in as quickly as we can.”
She said that her clients have been very understanding and supportive as they all work toward some level of normalcy in this new environment.
“Our clients have been amazing,” Zamperini said, noting that several people have sent donuts, pizzas and flowers to her shop. “People have been so generous... and this community is the best when it comes to helping out one another.”