BY CHRISTINE LEE AND JOHN USALIS
Major beneficiaries of the change from the yellow phase to the green phase in Schuylkill and other counties involving the COVID-19 restrictions are hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas and other services, and most opened on Friday with restrictions.
Owners and operators of those personal services were overjoyed in being able to open after having been shut down since mid-March, when the state ordered many businesses to follow directives that allowed some to remain open with social distancing and wearing face masks and other restrictions, but also shutdown many other businesses, such as hair salons.
One major mandate is having a buffer period between customers, allowing for sanitation and only having one customer in the shop at a time.
Alexandria’s Salon & Day Spa, 40 S. Lehigh Ave., Frackville, opened at 9 a.m. and was open all day. Owner Mary Rabbits was busy mid-morning working on the fingernails of Kay Faust, Ringtown, who is a regular customer every other week. Another nail customer, Donna Schenk, Pottsville, was being done by Tara Malafarina.
Faust, who was the first customer of the day, was thrilled to be able to be there.
“A woman is used to being pampered just like a baby not being taken care of the right way,” Faust said. “It’s wonderful to be back.”
“While we were off, we did a lot or ordering,” Rabbits said. “The last few days we’ve been cleaning. We also have the electronic thermometer to check temperatures. “We also want to protect ourselves and make sure everybody is going to be safe. The young people don’t want to come out still.”
Rabbits said there are three employees who were able to file for unemployment compensation when the shop was closed.
Betty Ann Bugden’s Total Image Hair Replacement in Shenandoah also was a busy location through the day. Bugden has been in business for 55 years in the borough. While part of the business was closed, the hair replacement service was able to reopen on April 30 for those who received that service in the past. Bugden applied for the waiver application, which was sent to the governor’s office, and it was approved shortly afterward.
“I have a client who needed to take off the hair every four weeks,” Bugden said. “Someone contacted me about the waiver approval.”
Bugden was styling the hair of Marian Long in the morning. Long was very pleased with results.
Due to the size of the shop, clients can get their hair done in the shop front, along with a room in the back to keep the proper social distancing.
“I have a full day on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week,” Bugden said.
In the Mahanoy Township village of Park Place, the Kathleen Wufsus Beauty Salon was also as busy as other shop owners.
“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” Wufsus said. “This morning I had 11 guests. I’m taking a break for a half hour for lunch, and I’ll be right on it again. I have 11 appointments in the afternoon. They are all haircuts. Tomorrow, I’ll be working to 5:30 p.m. I’m also working on my day off on Monday, and I’ll be working Sunday since it’s Father’s Day. I usually never work on Sunday. I’m trying. All I can say is I’m trying.”
A salon and barbershop owner in Pottsville said Friday business was going great for them.
“It’s looking good so far,” said Father and Son’s II Barbershop owner Santos Garcia from the shop at 202 N. Centre St. It opened at 9 a.m. Friday.
He said customers like that the barbershop is back open and that he is booked on appointments today.
“The appreciation is there, the love is there,” Garcia said.
BeeHive Hair Salon owner Kelly Lecher saw her first customer at midnight Friday. The customer came in with photos of various hairstyles they had in the three months the county was on lockdown due to the coronavirus.
“They were very funny,” she said, adding that working late didn’t bother her.
“It felt like I was just working at night,” she said.
Lecher said there is “such a good vibe” at the salon at 301 Mahantongo St.
“We are all very happy to be back to work,” she said. “It’s a very good feeling.”
The salon is booked with appointments for the next few weeks, Lecher said.
Garcia said the shop is back to normal business hours and that he’s looking to hire licensed barbers and cosmetologists.
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