Reopening means big changes for nonessential businesses |

Reopening means big changes for nonessential businesses

Shear Design and Co. in Granby is closed on Wednesday. With loosening restrictions on nonessential businesses, a number of hair salons in Grand County are planning to reopen on Friday.
Eli Pace /

Some nonessential industries can reopen with strict regulations on Friday, and many business owners and employees are eager to get back to work.

For places like hair salons and tattoo parlors, reopening does not mean a return to normal. Instead, businesses are putting in strict health guidelines to protect employees and customers.

Tina Rolando, owner of Shear Design, said the changes for her clients include requiring customers to wash their hands upon entering the salon, learning to cut hair around face masks and skipping the usual end of service blow-dry.

“We know it’s not going to be business per usual,” Rolando said. “We’re aware of the danger the community faces — for us and for others — so we’re taking it very seriously.”

Grand County’s plan for reopening aligns with the state’s safer at home period, which allows certain nonessential businesses to reopen with social distancing and safety precautions in place. The county is also requiring businesses to complete a COVID-19 compliance verification form before they can reopen.

Even with the changes, clients are eager for their haircuts, Rolando said. Because it’s been over a month since customers have been able to get their hair professionally done, some are shaggy and desperate, while others are eager to correct the mistakes made at their home salon.

“Some have tried to color their hair, and we were afraid of that,” Rolando said. “It’s not so easy to reverse that. Haircuts we can work around.”

For Mari Beard of MB Ink Tattoo Studio, her clients were less likely to take matters into their own hands but just as eager for a return of services. With plans to reopen next week, Beard said clients who had to delay their appointments are keen to move forward with their tattoos.

On Tuesday, Beard was still looking over the state and county guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety, and she said that requiring face masks and only allowing the client into the studio are two changes that will be in place.

The overall number of calls from new clients has slowed down during the stay at home order, Beard said. She added that she was worried about what the future would hold and the fact that she might have to close again if COVID-19 cases spike.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with economy,” Beard said. “Being a tattoo artist, where it’s not an essential thing, I’m just going to have to wait and see what happens.”

That was a worry Rolando felt as well. To not exceed the maximum number of people in a space and to disinfect between clients, the salon will be taking on a lower number of customers per day.

Beyond that, Rolando pointed out that things are changing by the day. She understands that if cases go up, the salon will have to close down.

“We were just saying in the team meeting that you never know,” Rolando said. “We might work for two weeks and just get shut down again … I think our clients are understanding, and everyone knows that’s a possibility.”

Rolando added that being self employed has meant that the past month was difficult for her team, just like it has been for many people. The uncertainty of the reopening date has meant that plans had to be shuffled and appointments rescheduled.

Even with their businesses opening, that uncertainty remains. Even now, Beard is skeptical she’ll actually be allowed to open Monday. As much as she wants to get back to work, she knows that people’s health is the priority.

“I would like to see things going back to normal as soon as possible,” Beard said. “But at the same time, I want everybody to be safe.”

Opening dates for other businesses, like gyms and pools, are still unknown, but office-based workplaces can transition back to the office May 4 at 50% capacity.

Gov. Jared Polis’ order has extended the ban on short-term rentals through at least May 26. Other critical accommodations like hotels and motels will be able to open May 22 when the county’s health order ends.

Some Kremmling businesses plan for May 1 reopening

Following weeks of fear and frustration, Kremmling’s hair salons and tattoo parlor are set to reopen this Friday following Gov. Jared Polis’ updated guidelines for responsible social distancing.

The move is a welcome sign for many people like Dalene Harthun, owner of Grand Hair Design in Kremmling, who took to Facebook to express her joy at being able to reopen her business.

“Hello my amazing clients! Looks like we can start doing hair again May 1,” she wrote. “I have started the BIG task of calling everyone that has called in the last 6 weeks and those that I already had booked. I am hoping to finish calling tomorrow. If I haven’t gotten to you yet I haven’t forgotten my list is just big I will do my best to get everyone in, let me know if you need in and haven’t talked to me or already had one scheduled! Can’t wait to see all your faces!!!!!!!! I have missed everyone!”

Mandy Villalobos and her colleagues at Strands Salon have also started reaching out to clients whose late March and April appointments were canceled.

Other West Grand salons planning to reopen May 1 include Susan Wall’s Wings Family Haircare, and Park Avenue Hair owned by Kriss and Stephen Mossman.

Bryan Tarver said his tattoo shop, Cirque du Freak Body Art, will be back to its normal operating schedule — Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays noon to 6 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays noon to 8 p.m. — beginning May 6. 

Christine Poyser

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