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(5/25/20) - Michigan hair salons remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. There is not a set timeline for them to reopen. But two Genesee County salon co-owners said they are using the time off to revamp their business protocols to help protect clients. Tracey Selley and Laurie Burghardt are the owners of Uptown Hair Boutique in Flushing. They said they shut down their salon March 23 to comply with executive orders issued by the state. The owners said health and safety were of the utmost importance. But they also said the past two months had been difficult. "I think the hardest part is not seeing those clients because they become part of you. And you become part of them," said Selley. Burghardt agreed. "It was devastating to all of us... It's our livelihood, and it's something that you do every single day, and now you can't do it." The owners said they spent their time away from the shop researching and looking for ways to protect the health of their clients. They said the deeply disinfected Uptown Hair Boutique was now adding acrylic glass barriers at nail and pedicure stations. It was adding clear curtains around haircut chairs. Selley and Burghardt said so far, they have spent close to $1200 on the safety changes. Once the salon was allowed to reopen, it planned to screen clients who wanted to book an appointment. "Have you traveled recently? Have you been with anyone that has had COVID in the last week? Are you showing any signs of any symptoms? Have you had it," said Burghardt. Selley said the salon will no longer have a waiting area, and magazines will not be left out for customers to read. But she said there will be an important protocol for clients to follow. "They’ll sit in their car until they get a text from the salon said it’s okay to come in. Everyone will be required to wear a mask... We will have hand sanitizer. And as soon as you walk through the door, you're going to have your temperature taken," said Selley. The owners said all staff members would thoroughly disinfect work stations between every customer. But even after the state lifts the restrictions, some clients could have concerns about making a hair appointment. "We understand that. But we just want them to know that we have done everything possible to be able to make them feel comfortable to come into the salon, get the service done, and leave feeling like 100 bucks," said Selley. Selley and Burghardt said the changes would be required operating procedures for staff and customers. "If someone doesn't want to wear a mask in here and doesn't feel comfortable with that, unfortunately, we will probably have to say, 'I'm sorry'... We do have the right to refuse services," said Burghardt. In the meantime, they were looking forward to reopening after the state announced they were allowed to do so. They also recognized there was no question it would happen in an era that was anything but 'business as usual.'

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