Laci Meeks, owner and stylist at The Salty Mane outside Atlanta in Alpharetta, GA, is preparing to reopen her doors after Gov. Brian Kemp gave the green light for certain businesses to do so as early as April 24, including hair and nail salons. Here, Meeks shares her strategy for getting back in business and the extra precautions she and her staff are taking.
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These are some interesting times, that is for sure. There isn't a handbook for this kind of stuff. I know it's controversial to open right now, as so many people have offered me their unsolicited opinion, but we have faith in our business practices and our leaders.
Immediately upon the Governor's words about reopening salons here in Georgia, the booking app that we have tied to our phone systems started pinging nonstop. In the span of 30 minutes, we were looking at over 450 text messages, 45 voicemails and a list of about 275 clients that we had already compiled from having to shut down. At the moment, we are still tirelessly working though a list of names to rebook appointments.
6 Feet Apart: As of now, the orders implemented don't give an actual number of people allowed in the salon at one time. However, they do state to keep 6 feet apart when possible. Fortunately, when we built our salon, one of the visions we had was to keep the chairs spread out to give a very open, relaxed and airy feel. This has definitely helped us in times like this, as we are for the most part 6 feet apart.
Break Room: We have a door at the back of our break room/color area that leads outside, so keeping that open and having our our stylists take their break out back is one thing extra we'll do to alleviate the number of people in that area at one time.
Client Waiting Area: Clients who are waiting for their appointments will be asked to wait outside or in their cars, and we will get them when ready.
Sanitation: Throughout the day and at the end of the day, we take pretty extreme measures cleaning the chairs, bowls, desks, etc. in between appointments. At the end of the day, we spray our concrete floors with an antiviral solution. We have hand sanitizer everywhere in the salon as well and we encourage that our patrons use it in addition to washing their hands.
Ventilation: We have 8 extra tons of HVAC in our space, which is about 3,200-sq. ft. We have had it reworked and set to pull negative pressure inside the salon. This way, anything airborne will be drawn up and exit through our exhaust vents as the air exchanger draws in fresh air. Since we had time when closed, these are extra precautions we implemented to plan for the future.
Marketing: Fortunately, we have been very blessed in regard to marketing and support from our clients during all of this. We were going to hire two people before the COVID-19 breakout, so we brought them on last week to help handle some of the overflow.