Minnesota salons hoping to reopen amid pandemic; implement new ideas to improve client safety

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A hair and spa trade organization is making a pitch to convince Minnesota officials that restrictions can be eased at some point to allow salons to open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A separate group of several salon owners were scheduled to speak over the phone Tuesday with the Minnesota Board of Cosmetology about safety changes since they have all been closed down due to the coronavirus.

"Everyone wants to make sure we're taking every precaution to do proper safe distancing in a way that everyone can get behind, and still function as Minnesotans," said State Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, who planned to be on the call. “We have to get our economy started at some point."

The Salon and Spa Professional Association based in Bloomington said some of its suggestions to the state include requiring more cleaning, masks for salon staff, spacing out client seating, getting rid of waiting rooms, lowering the total number allowed inside a studio and prohibiting walk-in customers.

"It sure has been rough on every licensee in the state of Minnesota," said Susan Brinkhaus, CAE Executive Director.

The association said it has submitted those suggestions to the Gov. Tim Walz's office for review.

The state has given no indication if restrictions will ease next month, when the 'stay at home' order is scheduled to expire.

The Minnesota Board of Cosmetology is in discussions with Commissioner Steve Grove, of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) how to create a process to safely reopen salons, according to a post on its website.

Minnesota Board of Cosmetology Helpful Resources

The board on Tuesday said it had no comment on the reopening of salons.

Last month, 5 EYEWINTESS NEWS stopped in at HAUS Salon in the North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis the day the state closed the hair industry due to the coronavirus concerns.

"We've had to use our creativity in new ways to ensure our team is safe,” co-founder Charlie Backney Love said in a video call.

In the last month, the salon owners said they implemented several new policies that will go into effect if the state eases restrictions that would improve customer and staff safety.

But HAUS owners said they don't want to open as quickly as possible only doing it when it's safe to do so for their employees and clients. 

“We have a few major goals, reducing the number of bodies in the salon at any time, reducing the amount of time people are in the salon themselves and reducing as much close contact as we can," said Jessica Reipke, HAUS co-founder.