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Salons prepare to open, if they can

Cortland County salons are preparing plans to reopen during Phase 2, changing much of how they operated.

Tattoo shops are doing the same, even though they don’t know when they’ll be able to open.

“I am so excited,” said Desarae Edwards, who owns Roots Hair Salon in Cortland. “I cannot wait to see everybody. As a service industry, I need interaction. As a hairstylist you form amazing relationships. Those are my people. You just don’t do their hair, you form relationships.”

Edwards said the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce told her to base her reopening plans off of those given to Phase 1 businesses. Edwards said the state had specific guidelines that must be met in order to open and other options they recommended.

The guidelines will change much of how salons operate. Edwards won’t be able to have a waiting room, offer coffee or her other normal accommodations.

She plans to have one day specifically for people at a higher risk of catching the coronavirus. Patrons will have to fill out a form before the appointment about how they feel.

“If they don’t answer, there is a chance we could ask them to reschedule,” she said.

When people arrive, they’ll wait in their car until they get a text or call. Their temperature will be taken at the door. A hand sanitizer station will be set up.

Everyone must wear a mask and gloves. If people don’t have a mask, Edwards said one can be purchased for $1.

Edwards had to install a new sink and accordion door to maintain social distancing with the other stylist. The stylists will wear a new apron for each customer, who will wear a disposable cape.

In another industry that features close contact between artist and client, tattoo artists Josh Payne and Thom Bulman say they haven’t heard what they’ll need to reopen. Payne said he’ll head to Colorado and maybe elsewhere until he and Bulman can reopen their shop, Alchemist Art Studio in Cortland.

“They haven’t told us a word,” Payne said. “I’m at over two months of no work so I need to make money.”

“Once we heard Phase 1 was opening I reached out to a bunch of my other friends and they’re all saying ‘I don’t know,'” Bulman said. “There’s no clarification.”

Payne said “I respect the state’s decision to do what they have to do to keep people safe,” but tattoo shops, especially small ones like his, aren’t intrusive.

Bulman said the shop is developing a plan as well for when it can open. Some things will remain unchanged: The artist will wear gloves; use disposable needles and clean stations after each customer.

“Everything that we have is single-use packaging,” Bulman said.

However, some things will change. People can no longer bring friends and must have their temperatures checked. No food or drink will be allowed in the studio and if a break is taken during the appointment then the customer must take it outside the studio.

Bulman said he’s hoping the shop can open sooner rather than later.

“If it’s Phase 4, we’re not going back to work until July,” he said.

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