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Salon owner advises others to ‘just follow the regulations’

MARTINS FERRY — Hair salon owner Shannon Young said restarting her business after COVID-19 related restrictions were lifted was like “walking into a new world.”

Young, owner of Forever Young Studio of Hair in Martins Ferry, said her business was closed eight weeks because of the shutdown of non-essential businesses by the state of Ohio. Getting to come back to work was “an amazing feeling,” she said.

“I personally have never taken more than a couple days off at a time, other than maternity leave. The girls at my salon are all booth renters, so we are independent contractors and self employees. We had to wait for the state to create an unemployment system for us. We didn’t see anything the entire eight weeks we were off, so financially it was a relief when we were able to come back,” Young said.

When finally allowed to open about mid-May, Young said her salon always had been conscientious about sanitation and safety, but there were new rules to get used to.

“The new guidelines made us have to learn all over again. State rules require that we wear masks at all times while working. That is very hard, especially in the 90-degree heat. But we have found that the more we wear them, the easier it gets,” she said.

Young said the Rev. William Webster, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, loaned her benches to use outside the salon. She said they are used for “breathing breaks” and for customers to sit on while waiting to come inside.

“As far as safety of customers, you have to wait in your car or on the bench until we are ready for you. We ask that you call or text before entering to make sure we are ready. We also have signs that we flip in the window to let you know when we are ready,” she said.

“Upon entering, we are taking temperatures and having you sign in. Temps above 100 degrees will be turned away and asked to reschedule. The purpose of signing in is so we can trace contact if anyone were to become positive with COVID.

“We are only allowed one client, per stylist, at a time. This had drastically affected our scheduling. We are no longer allowed to double book, which is pushing rescheduling back by at least a week or two.”

Young said most of their customers have had the chance to come in at least once since reopening in May.

“Business is busy as usual, but we have a lot more down time between clients. And once a client leaves, we wipe our stations down, clean our tools and start setting up for our next client,” she said.

Young advises salon owners in other states to “just follow the rules.”

“I would hate to pay a fine for something as simple as wearing a mask, or exceeding the social distancing guidelines. It’s also not worth being shut down again. I hope we can stay open and resume life as normal. But for now, my salon is doing whatever it takes to keep everyone safe and healthy,” Young said.

In addition to Young, others working at her salon include Emily Marinelli, Linda Archer, Samantha Miller and assistant Haze McNickle.

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