Friday's hair appointments at ONA Salon on Nelson Road may have lasted longer than usual as the business followed strict steps to ensure overall safety from COVID-19. For Katarina Van Winkle, owner, the extra time was worth having customers walk out looking their best.
"Hair has everything to do with how they feel, walk and talk," Van Winkle said. "It gives them confidence. After an hour and a half, they're a different person."
Salons, gyms, barber shops and other businesses were allowed to reopen on Friday under phase one guidelines, ending a nearly two-month-long statewide stay-at-home order. The regulations include a 25 percent occupancy limit, sanitation measures and space for social distancing.
The restrictions didn't hurt business, Van Winkle said.
"It's been super busy," she said. "Everyone has been happy and excited to come in."
Van Winkle, who worked as a nurse in Bosnia before moving to the United States, said employees and customers were required to have their temperature checked and wear masks. Each station is equipped with disinfectant wipes, Lysol and hand sanitizer.
"I think we went overboard," she said of the safety measures.
Walk-ins are not allowed, with customers booking their appointments ahead of time and waiting in their cars before being called to enter the salon, Van Winkle said. They also have to fill out a release form and health questionnaire that will be kept on file. Smocks worn by customers are only used once.
‘It's complicated, but it's manageable," she said. "We can't see as many guests as we used to, but we hope better times are around the corner."
Van Winkle said non-slip shoe covers were given to customers to wear inside the salon.
"I did this on my own," she said. "My clients don't mind. They think it's fabulous."
Even with the extra safety steps taken, Van Winkle said she's happy to be working again.
"We're excited to have human contact," she said.
Friday was the first day for ONA Salon at its new Nelson Road location. The business was formerly on Ryan Street.
"We're so excited to be back in the community," she said. "I hope people are practicing social distancing as we are. They should be aware of the fact this is really happening, take certain measures and be cautious."