Hair salons reopen, but with a whole new set of rules

A client waits to be checked in by staff member at the Great Clips salon at Tanner Place in Clinton on Wednesday, May 6, the day Gov. Bill Lee allowed hair salons to reopen in 89 of 95 counties in Tennessee.
Clients are taking advantage of the reopening of salons in the Clinton area to bring their shaggy hair back into order, salon operators report.

As of last Wednesday (May 6), salons and barber shops were allowed to reopen in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, including Anderson, by order of Gov. Bill Lee.

They had been closed more than six weeks because of Lee’s executive orders shutting down “non-essential” businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though most have reopened, there are new procedures in place to protect employees and clients.

All services are by appointment only, and clients are let into each salon one at a time per stylist. No walk-ins are allowed, and no one may sit in the waiting room, said Phyllis Long, owner of the Long Branch Salon at 701 N. Main St. in Clinton.

“I put a sign on the door to tell people no walk-ins are allowed,” she said. “People have been very kind and understanding.”

Well, except for one. A man walked in the front door of the salon last Thursday afternoon and asked whether the salon was taking walk-ins. When a staff member told him “no,” he slammed the door on his way out, then made a loud and quick exit from the parking lot in his vehicle.

The salon has been busy, but in a measured and careful way, said Long, who has operated the Long Branch in Clinton for the past 42 years.

“We are covered up, but we have three stylists and we’re very well-spaced apart,” she said. “Haircuts are still the number one need, but we’re doing colors – we did three last Friday – and we have colors and perms booked this week and next.

“We’re being careful, wearing masks and cleaning after every client,” Long said.

Great Clips at the Tanner Place shopping center near Walmart also is seeing brisk business, but by appointment only. The stylists and customers are wearing masks while in the salon, said an employee who answered the phone Tuesday morning and identified herself only as “Nicki.”

“We are actually doing perfectly,” she said. “Everything is going pretty smoothly, and we’re very, very busy.”

Clients wait outside the salon until a stylist invites them in, one at a time, and they are required to answer a health questionnaire and wear masks, she said. “We will not let them in without a mask.” The customers must bring their own masks, however.

At Mitchells Salon and Spa at 312 Market Street, patrons also are asked to wear masks, and if they don’t bring their own, the salon will provide them, said receptionist Hannah Ayres.

“Of course, everything is appointment only,” Ayres said. “But we are doing really well. We are disinfecting after each client. We’re doing haircuts and colors. And people are happy to finally be able to get their hair done.”