Local Barber Shops, Salons Prepare Safety Plans in Anticipation of Opening Soon

For many local African-American barbers and hairstylists,  the announcement on Monday that Phase One of the governor’s re-opening plan for New York State included Western New York, was good news.

If all goes well,   Phase Two ,which includes the opening  of  barber shops and beauty salons,  is projected to  kick  off around  June 1.

-Hair to Go-

Meanwhile entrepreneurs are busy preparing to   put plans   in place to protect themselves and their customers with the proper sanitary measures. 

Althea Little Owner of Hair to Go Natural

Althea Little, owner of Hair to Go Natural,  located at 727  Main Street, says that she, like other area stylists, are  looking forward to being able to service her customers   again.              

The savvy entrepreneur, who has been in business for  almost 25 years, said  her safety plan includes (but is not limited to)  taking everyone’s temperature – workers and customers – daily; making sure everyone   washes their hands regularly; mandating that everyone – clients as well as stylists –  wears a mask; practicing social distancing; and  having customers sign in.   

“Customers will have to sign in for tracking purposes in case someone get  sick,” she explained.

In addition to  spacing and partitioning   work stations,  “customers may pretty much have to wait in their cars,” between appointments she said. Hosting a salon full of people will no longer be  allowed, she continued. “ We can no longer  afford to have children and extra people waiting inside while others  are being serviced.”

Staggering appointments she added, will hopefully eliminate  or drastically reduce  wait times. It also means that customers will have to be on time and clear about what they want done so that stylists and braiders can work quickly  and efficiently.

 “Hopefully people will  be able to accept the ‘new normal’                                                          she said. “It’s all about safety first – both for the stylists and customers.”

-House of Masters-

Sean Thompson Owner of Seans House of Masters

Sean Thompson is at the top of his game. In addition to being a  Supervisor for Procuring Barber exams for the State  as well as a NYS  instructor, he’s been in  business for  21 years. He’s the    owner of  Sean’s House of  Masters  on E. Delavan  and The Grooming Lounge  on Main Street, which he opened less than a year ago.

 Sean has  his safety plan together and he’s  looking forward to opening  back up.

“Each and every day I want us all to be safe,” he said. “I’m completely aware  of the CDC Laws to protect myself and my clients. I’m not trying to kill myself and I have to make sure my clients know I’m taking every measure to protect them and provide  a safe environment.”

His safety plan inludes: Putting barriers  between barber chairs if he is unabe to seperate  them  by 6 feet; removing the waiting area; accepting appointments only; no walk-ins; and taking  the temperatures of everyone who comes in – barbers and customers alike. Also,   before servicing each customer the  barber has to sanitize his station, chair and hands and remove any hair off the floor. 

“We will take each clients name for tracking   purposes if it becomes necessary; Barbers have to have hand  sanitizer at each station and peform services with new gloves for each client.  All clients and barbers must wear facial masks during services; and there will be no eating or drinking. 

Sean said his barbers  have been updated on their COVID19 Certificates and  current NYS inspection control procedures (on  line courses).  

“You’ve got to have a plan and it’s got to be posted,” he continued.  

Sean prides himself in being a businessman, but says he’s still concerned about  his community and whether or not some barbers  will be able to stay  consistent with the rules for public safety.

“I know the industry but I also know… the culture,” he said. “At the end of the day I just want us all to be safe! “

Ed Note: Every business in Western New York that is looking to reopen must have a plan, County Executive Poloncarz has said. The state issued a template that businesses can use, available  in fillable PDF format: https://bit.ly/3bHoAi3