Local Hair Salon Owner Shares Thoughts on Reopening

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Governor Kim Reynolds has allowed more businesses to reopen and a local hair salon owner looks to navigate the line between safety and economically thriving.

Sonja Larkin is the owner of Reflectionz Studio in Ottumwa. She said she had a “mixed” reaction when she heard the governor’s announcement, stating concern for the safety of staff and patrons.

“I’m ready to open business and see our friends again but then I’m a little Apprehensive for the health of everybody as well.”

Larkin says because of the short turnaround between the governor’s Wednesday announcement that salons can open on Friday, Reflectionz Studio will open on Monday, May 18th to make sure her business has all of its protocols in place.

Larkin says she prepared for the reopening by stocking up on hospital-grade disinfectant wipes. A plexiglass screen was installed on the front counter as well.

According to Larkin, each station will be sanitized in between client visits. Both staff and guests will be required to wear face masks. There will be no waiting room area. Guests will wait outside and will be notified when they can go into the salon. Additionally, clients will be asked to refrain from touching items in the salon to keep possible contact points to a minimum.

The work between a stylist and a guest requires social distancing to be nonexistent. Larkin says Refectionz has taken steps to minimize risk.

“We are elminating blow-drys. instead of cutting hair after it’s been colored and shampooed, we’re asking guests to come with clean, dry hair.”

Larkin admits with all of the changes, the salon will be different.

“It’s not going to feel like your normal Salon Setting,” Larkin says. “It’s going to feel, unfortunately, like a visit to the Doctor’s office.”

Larkin told Ottumwa Radio News she researched how other hair salons from other states are handling the issue of stylists wearing gloves and says the verdict is split with no clear consensus. Larkin did state her staff will be required to wash their hands regularly, between clients, and any time they hit a touchpoint in the salon. She says hand sanitizer will be available throughout the salon.

Larkin says Iowa does not require stylists to wear gloves so it will be up to the individual to make that choice. If they do wear gloves, they will be changed after each client. Although Larkin did say it’s “hard to cut in gloves.”

Larkin says Reflectionz has “hundreds” of clients on its waiting list which will have the staff working extended hours for a few weeks after reopening.

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