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Local salons reopen after two months

From a little extra shag to some truly regrettable decisions involving hair clippers, the past two months have produced some interesting hairstyles, as salons and barbershops across the state were closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Last Friday, those restrictions were lifted during Phase II of the state’s three-phase reopening plan, and hair salons in Beaufort County are back in business. For the independent stylists who call Boha Studio home, Tuesday marked the first day they were able to see clients again.

“All salons were able to open last Friday at 5 p.m, but we decided to wait and get everything together, and we reopened (Tuesday)” said Boha Studio owner Erin BonneyHassell. “All of our schedules were pretty full when we were told we couldn’t work anymore, so most of us made a list of people we had to cancel. Starting last week, we slowly started rescheduling everyone.”

Aside from the logistics of rescheduling, protocols in place at the salon look a little bit different now than they did at the beginning of March. For one, the doors of the business remain locked, and appointments must call once they arrive to come into the studio. They’re then asked a series of health screening questions before they sit in the chair. Customers are also asked not to bring food or drink to the appointment, and must wear a mask in order to receive services.

Of the stylists who work at Boha, BonneyHassell says about half of them were able to sign up for unemployment benefits while the studio was closed. While BonneyHassell didn’t cut hair herself Tuesday, she says customers and stylists alike were glad to be reunited.

“Everyone is super-relieved,” BonneyHassell said. “I think we all feel pretty safe with the guidelines that everyone has to follow. Everybody’s really excited to get back to work, for sure.”

Also sharing that enthusiasm to get back to work is Danielle Wells, who owns Inner Banks Hair Salon on 10th Street in Washington. Wells, along with another stylist at the salon, was among the hundreds of Reopen NC protesters who demonstrated in Raleigh last month, demanding that she and her fellow salon workers be allowed to return to work.

“I am ecstatic that our industry can reopen again,” Wells said last week. “I know that if anybody can safely reopen, it’s the people in the hair industry. We are some of the cleanest people in business and the safety for the customer has always been top priority and has always been practiced. It is a shame that this has become political.”

A full list of guidelines in place for hair salons and other personal care businesses can be found here.