Hair salons in Rhode Island reopen under Phase 2 restrictions

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – June 1 marks the first day of Phase 2 in Rhode Island, a day when many close-contact businesses are allowed to reopen under new restrictions.

Among the businesses reopening after more than two months closed are hair and nail salons.

“(I’m) excited like it’s Christmas. I miss a lot of my clients. You’re like a family, so I feel like I couldn’t wait to get back in here.”

Isabel Almeida-Mota owns Bella Salon & Spa on Newport Avenue in Pawtucket. She closed a week before the state ordered salons to close, as she had one pregnant stylist and another immunocompromised.

“I started getting ready. The minute I closed I’m like, okay, I’m gonna have to do this. So I ordered all kinds of PPE, I ordered disposable masks, I ordered a thermometer,” said Almeida-Mota, who was more than prepared for the June 1 reopening.

Bella Salon & Spa is now booked solid until July, and the stylists are working seven days a week with longer hours to fit in more clients.

Restrictions at the salon include clients waiting in their car until their stylist comes out and gets them, masks on while inside, and handwashing and hand sanitizing the moment they walk in.

“Once they’re in the chair, that’s their spot. They’re not going anyplace else. We cut them, and they’re out the door. If they need products, we put them in a bag for them ahead of time and check out, and that’s it.”

Almeida-Mota said additional restrictions include no talking while at the sink, and no blowdrying, as state guidelines recommend against it.

Stylists are also not booking clients back to back, to give them more time to sanitize before and after and to have fewer people in the building.

“I’m not working as hard, to be honest with you. It’s actually more relaxing, I feel like, oh this is easy. They’re done, they’re out the door, bye!”

Bella Salon & Spa also has a nail technician, but they’ve stopped acrylics and dip, and are only offering regular and shellac manicures and pedicures.

“Oh my goodness have I missed this place,” said client Charlene Jarest on Monday.

Jarest was a lucky customer to get a spot on the salon’s opening day.

“Well, I’m gonna leave here with wet hair that’s very different,” she said.

Jarest said she’s been a client of Almeida-Mota’s for nearly 20 years. While she acknowledges the risk of getting her hair done during the pandemic, there’s no one she trusts more than her stylist.

“I feel safe here, yes. I really haven’t been going anywhere because I’m a lady of a certain age and therefore may be vulnerable.”

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Pawtucket, Regional News, Rhode Island