Minnesota salons relieved to be able to reopen on June 1

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The state is loosening restrictions for barbershops, hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors. Starting June 1, personal care services will be allowed to reopen in a limited capacity.

Gov. Tim Walz made the announcement on Wednesday.

“We are relieved to be reopening,” said Ilka Bird, owner of Get Gorgeous Salon and Spa.

She’s been operating her business on Selby Avenue in St. Paul for more than a decade. Bird first talked with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in March, when she said she was devastated by the state’s decision to close salons.

She said it’s been a difficult time.

“A lot of depression, a lot of sad days, yeah, it’s been hard,” Bird said.

She’s now looking forward to getting back to work, with a client already booked for June 1.

“We’ve bleached everything down with Clorox wipes,” she said. “We’ll wipe everything down before and after clients come in […] constantly sanitizing, sanitizing, sanitizing.”

Bird and her two stylists will be spacing out appointments to allow for cleaning in between.

“Getting people in like we used to will not be the same. So, as long as people are patient with us, we can make this happen,” she said.

Due to the small size of their waiting room, clients will also no longer be allowed to bring others with them to appointments.

The state is requiring businesses to complete a preparedness plan, including how they will maintain social distancing. Personal care services can only have an occupancy of up to 25% of their maximum capacity.

In addition, services can only be offered by appointment, and both clients and employees must wear masks.

While the restrictions may reduce the number of customers they serve in a day, Bird said it’s the right decision.

“Right now, I think what’s best is for everyone to stay safe and healthy,” she said.

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She urges those who don’t feel well to stay home.

“My fear is that someone is sick and they really want their hair done, and they can really be bringing it in on my coworkers and everyone else here,” Bird said.

She and other business owners will be doing temperature screenings of clients and employees.

At Dragon Nails in Robbinsdale, owner Kim Thu Le and her daughter, Charlie Nguyen, will not allow customers with COVID-19 symptoms inside.

Additionally, there are some services they won’t be offering, such as waxing and eyelash extensions.

“Any sort of thing like that that’s going to be too up close, we’re not going to be doing that at this time,” Nguyen said.

Nail technicians will be wearing face shields. They’ll also be using antibacterial soaps and FDA-approved sanitation products, according to Nguyen.

She said they’ve been getting ready to reopen the salon since it closed two months ago.

“We’ve been waiting for this, we’ve been preparing for a really long time,” she said.

They’re putting up Plexiglass to create another barrier between clients and employees. They will also be spacing out stations and pedicure chairs to maintain social distancing.

Nguyen told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they even added an air filtration system to remove microbes, chemicals and dust from the salon.

“This being so customer-facing, we have to make sure we protect ourselves as well as everybody else,” she said.

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