coronavirus illinois

As Illinois Salons Prepare for Potential Reopening, Owners Reveal Safety Steps They're Taking

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Illinois salons could potentially reopen next month if the state moves to the next phase of its reopening plan, and owners are preparing for a radically different world than the one they left just two months ago.

For 25 years, Wesley Poole has owned and operated Wesley’s International Hair Salon in suburban Skokie. Like every other salon in the state, Poole’s business was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic in late March.

“I thought it was going to be like a week or so, but it just went on and on,” he said.

Barring a rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the state, Poole and other salon owners could be poised to reopen soon. If the Chicago-area, part of the Northeast region in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan, enters phase three next month, then hair salons will be allowed to open, albeit with some serious changes to their business models.

Clients and staff would have to wear face masks under the proposed reopening plan, and all stations would have to be cleaned and sanitized after each client.

Poole says that his salon would also track those who go in and out of the business.

“You are going to have to sign in and sign out, just in case anything happens,” he said. “That way, we will know you’ve been in here.”

James Rosko owns and operates Neon Avenue Salon on Chicago’s Jewelers Row. Rosko will also require all staff and customers to wear face masks, and will provide individualized sanitation kits for his staff.

“Everybody will have their own spray bottles. We won’t be sharing anything,” he said. “We’re just trying to see what regulations we need to follow.”

Illinois may have to wait until late May to reopen its salons, but in Indiana, some salons, spas and barbershops are already reopened.

“We’re going to take a non-touch temperature of every customer,” Laura Harte, owner of The Retreat at Serendipity Province, said.

For Illinois owners, they are simply looking to get back to some semblance of normal in chaotic times.

“I’m just really excited to have the interaction outside of this virtual reality we’ve grown accustomed to,” Poole said. a

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