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Salons see big turnout during first day back open

Many customers who went to a salon during the first day they could reopen in the state likely noticed some differences compared to their last visits. At one local salon, a divider was up to separate the customer from the employee. And, at hair salons, employees are now wearing masks and changing the way people wait for appointments.

The new reality for salons starts in the parking lot. We visited Studio RK Salon in Lee County Monday, where, as soon as you get there, you send the salon a text from your vehicle and wait there until you’re told you can go inside for a health screening.

To get in the salon chair, you have to answer some questions that have nothing to do with hair.

“As long as they say no to all those questions, we ask them to come on in,” said Pamela Knight, the co-owner of Studio RK Salon.

Studio RK is one of the salons doing more than the state requires, asking customers to wear masks too.

“I think that’s the biggest adjustment we had to have,” stylist Megan Barrett said.

But stylists say customers don’t seem to mind.

“Just how happy they are to be here, and we are too,” said Irelyn Gray, a salon associate. “And besides that, we don’t really have much to talk about because we’ve all been at home.”

With appointments only, RK Studio’s building more time into its schedule to clean and answer the phone that doesn’t stop ringing.

“Oh my goodness. We are overwhelmed but very grateful,” Knight said.

Other Lee County Salons told us about their first day and how the big turnout they experienced.

“We’ve been having calls nonstop, and we’ve been having to turn down people,” said Tu Nguyen, the co-owner of Hot Rock Nail Salon.

If you got to have a manicure at Hot Rock Nail Salon in Fort Myers, you’ll see your nail tech behind plexiglass.

“It’s just for our own technician’s safety,” Nguyen said. “If anybody wanted to get a little too close, they really can’t, you know.”

It’s a wait to stymie the temptation to get too close after a long time being far apart.

“It’s almost like the first day of school,” Gray said. “All the nerves and the excitement.”

You can certainly feel the stylist’s smiles you don’t see behind their masks.

At Studio RK, they’re extending their hours and days open because the calls are outrageous. During the first day, the salon had 186 customers waiting for a call to come back in.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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