Small businesses that had been shuttered by previous COVID-19 orders since March 24 lit up their “open” signs Friday after Gov. Brian Kemp gave the green light to barber shops, hair stylists, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other small “nonessential” businesses.
Several shop owners in Statesboro expressed delight in being able to operate again but voiced trepidation about the remaining threat of the coronavirus.
Raymundo Torres, owner of Ray the Caribbean Barber on East Main Street, said Friday he was slammed with patrons in need of a trim.
“We went four weeks with no money, and now we can make it,” he said. “But we want what is best for the customers, too. We do all we can — wear masks, gloves, switch capes between customers.”
Some business owners are waiting to reopen next week. Larry Scarboro, owner of Bigheads Barber Shop on West Main Street, said he is waiting on supplies to be delivered that will help him ensure clients and employees are safe as possible when the clippers start buzzing.
“We are very glad to be able to work,” he said. “Being self-employed, we don’t get unemployment.”
The employees of Sports Clips on Piedmont Loop were too busy to talk Friday. One employee who answered the phone said they were “two hours behind.”
Andy Vo, owner of Elegant Nails, also located on Piedmont Loop, said his clients were glad to see him open.
“They had not had nails done in weeks,” he said.
His customers are asked to wear masks “when they walk in the door,” and they, as well as technicians, must wash their hands, sanitize, and not come in if they are sick. There is no waiting inside; if they are full, other clients have to wait elsewhere, he said.
Friday afternoon, the red, white and blue barber’s pole outside Tina’s Barber Shop on West Main was spinning as fast as Tina Brown’s fingers while she worked to trim a client’s hair.
“We sanitize, sanitize, sanitize,” she said. “We do so after each customer, do social distancing and make sure nobody is sick.”
Kingdom Cuts on East Main Street was booked Friday as well, said owner Paul Johnson. He said he had “mixed emotions” about being open.
“We are happy we are able to come in, with weeks of no money and no government help. I am not scared because I am a believer, but is everybody going to take proper precautions?”
Like others, he is following strict guidelines including wearing masks and gloves and sanitizing, and allows only one client per barber — no waiting inside, he said.
The manager of Southern Nails did not wish to be identified but said there are “fiberglass partitions between technicians and clients” and that all social distancing/sanitary protocols were being followed.
Misty Arnold of 67 Styles on North Main Street said she is “excited” to open again, but “it is definitely not business as usual.” Their new set of standards includes changing smocks, gloves and masks, as well as sanitizing between customers.
Ramsey Braxton at Hair Studio 101 on South Main Street said they had even spaced their hair dryers further apart and have requested that customers, as well as stylists, wear masks.
Area spas, gyms and tattoo parlors were also cleared to open Friday, but phone calls to several locations went unanswered.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.