Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Salons manage under pandemic restrictions

   By Liberty Darr 

            Salons up and down Elmwood Avenue are continuing to embrace the changes being made in the wake of a global pandemic, all while trying to maintain some amount of normalcy. Getting your hair done is an experience that not only brightens your day, but it also offers a safe place to let go of the stresses that plague our everyday life. As places around the country have begun to open their doors for service again, salons have been forced to operate much differently than ever before seen but nonetheless still with the same charm and relaxation tactics that were so loved before the global pandemic.

            At Studio 806 on 806 Elmwood Ave., plastic barriers separate stations and a limited number of customers are allowed in at a time. Stylist Sierra Manne, who has been with the salon for two years, said that recovering from the second shutdown was the hardest part of this year.

            “I lost a lot of my clientele after the second shut down. People are simply too scared to even still get their hair done. There is only so much I can do to creatively build my clientele back up, it all depends on if people feel safe or not,” she said.

            Studio 806 joined salons across the state in taking a number of precautions in order to maintain cleanliness and protect their clientele in order to make sure that people feel safe, but still for some, even that is not enough.

            Salon owner  Sally Lococo from Kallista For Hair on 721 Elmwood Ave. said returning to normalcy is a dream that she is looking forward to everyday while at the salon.

            “I am looking forward to getting back to normal, especially having a normal amount of people in the salon. We have taken a pretty big hit since we only take one person at a time. It is also difficult when people come on to wear a mask, because it’s hard to tell exactly what someone is going to look like with a new hairstyle,” she said.

            For most salon professionals, doing hair is a very personal experience, and the lack of interaction has become increasingly more difficult.

            For eyelash technician Bella Formanski at Studio 806, she shares empathy with the stylists as her experience is very similar. 

            “When I do people’s eyelash extensions, it’s only us in the room so it is pretty cautionary. Formanski said. But it also is very isolating as I am not used to it being like that. While people are wearing masks, it’s important that they stay above the nose even throughout the entire eyelash extension process which can sometimes be difficult. But, the hardest part, like I said before, is the isolation.”

            Salon professionals have spent the better part of this year trying to recover from major losses in income as well as a loss of consistent clientele.

            The increase in people getting vaccinated has been the saving hope for many salon professionals, as they begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel after a hard and trying year.