ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The day barbershop and hair salon owners have been waiting for is almost here.
On Friday Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Twitter that locations can reopen starting May 11.
In the video, the governor's friend and owner of Henry's Barber Shop in downtown, Orlando, J Henry, shared the news saying, "I am happy to join governor Ron DeSantis as we reopen barbershops, hair salons and nail salons. We are ready to get back to work and make some money."
But, as imagined, there are mandatory restrictions as outlined by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation:
- All customers need to be by appointment only
- Allow at least 15 minutes between the conclusion of an appointment and the beginning of the next appointment for proper disinfecting practices
- No group appointments are permitted
- Masks must be worn by all employees while performing personal services
Businesses are also encouraged to provide masks to customers, remove unnecessary high-touched items in the shop and deep clean locations before reopening.
Reopenings will only apply to counties currently in Phase One of the governor's plan to reopen Florida. Enhanced safety protocols like wearing gloves, wearing masks and booking by appointments only will also be in place.
The addition to reopen barbershops, hair and nail salons comes four days after the governor started Phase One of his "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan to Reopen Florida."
The first phase initially only applied to restaurants and retail locations operating at 25 percent capacity, while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Noticeably missing were barbershops, hair and nail salons.
The salons were expected to reopen in Phase Two. After outcry and owners sharing the steps they were already taking to safeguard customers and staff, Florida will now allow them to reopen Monday.
The news may not have been a total surprise to business owners. Desantis recently met with Orlando-area barbers and hairdressers. During a roundtable discussion, DeSantis previously told the owners it's "not a matter of if, but when" they could reopen.
This announcement is one Bay area locations have been preparing for.
“I did let all of my clients know that they are required to wear a mask coming in," Ashley Nisheé, curl specialist and owner of Ashley Nisheé Hair Studio told 10 Tampa Bay. She also plans to have clients wait in their cars until the prior customer is gone to have time to clean.
It's an idea that local barber Mathew Harlan echoes.
"We're taking out all the seating there's no hanging out," Harlan said. "We're not gonna be double booking. If you have an appointment, you come by yourself, no one can come with you. If you're waiting, you have to wait in your car. We'll have to like let you know when to come in for your appointment."
Harlan and his team also moved chairs and stations more than six feet apart, making it clear that owners and stylists know the importance of safety when it comes to the success of reopening. Regardless of the timeline, it took to get here, owners like J Henry are grateful.
"Governor DeSantis you've done a great job to keep us safe and keep us reaching towards this day. I'm very excited, let's look forward to opening on Monday."
As of yet, the governor has not set a timeline for Phase Two of reopening the state, but he is looking to other states as part of that process.
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