On Monday, restaurants, salons and other close contact services opened for the first time since coronavirus hit Alabama. All of them put new safety measures in place.
Salon Allure in Huntsville spent the day training employees before customers return on Tuesday. The staff cleaned their stations all day and practiced new health guidelines such as wearing a mask. Paula Lecher, one of the owners, said they wanted to give their staff a day of practice to make sure everyone feels safe, and it was a success.
"We are going to be at 50% capacity. We are having to use every other station. We had to do a new schedule for everybody, so they're working less, but it's what we have to do and we will follow the guidelines," she said.
Lecher explained safety is the top priority for Salon Allure off South Memorial Parkway as it prepares to reopen on Tuesday. On Monday, the owners split the staff into four different groups for trial runs where they acted as clients or employees.
"We wanted them to know how to wear a mask, do services, we wanted them to know how it felt for the client. They actually had to wait in their car, call us and let us know they are here. When their stylist was ready for them, they got to call and asked for them to come in," she said.
The salon is having customers wait in their car and call upon arrival. They're also asking customers to wear a mask and to cancel if they have any coronavirus symptoms.
Lecher said the trials showed the stylists the difficulties of wearing a mask.
"They said, 'I can't breathe.' Some people said it fogs up their glasses, so it's different," she said.
The salon also spent a lot of money buying cleaning supplies, masks, and installed Plexiglas shields at the front desk to keep customers safe at checkout.
Lecher said with eight weeks of lost appointments, they're expanding hours to catch up, but it will take awhile to get everyone back on the schedule.
"We're working 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and we are even opening a few Sundays to get caught back up," she said.
The salon co-owner said some stylists do have availability, but most senior stylists at the salon are already booked through July.