Wait to reopen coming to end for Marion County salons and barbershops

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INDIANAPOLIS — Come Monday, Marion County barbers and salon stylists will be done waiting to join their peers around the state by reopening.

“As a barber you are more than just a barber, I mean you’re a psychiatrist and everything else,” says Jason Hicks, co-owner of Downtown’s Barber. “It’s killed us business-wise being closed a bit over two months now.”

Hicks had originally planned to reopen May 16, which was not in line with city guidelines. He felt he could keep his clients safe since his shop always followed strict protocols, and would only be adding to what they already do.

“Added mopping, gloves, masks, making sure everything is sanitize after every cut,” details Hicks. “I mean, we are all about the state guidelines.”

Despite having two weeks of appointments booked up, Hicks and his shop decided to halt reopening in the interest of public safety as well as fears of losing their license.

“There was a lot of disappointment,” explains Hicks.

When clients come back to salons and barbershops, work stations are supposed to be socially distanced. At Fountain Square Barbershop, they are taking safety protocols a step further. They will be installing Plexiglass barriers between their stations and may have barbers wear face shields. In their 92-year history, the shop had never closed until the pandemic hit.

“I believe that there are a lot of challenges, and we will all have to adapt to,” says Mac McMillan, owner of Fountain Square Barbershop. “Most importantly, public safety is number one.”

McMillan says he will allow barbers to return to part- or full-time work depending on their level of comfort being around clients. He is scheduling longer cut times to allow for extended sanitation between clients. Both customers and barbers will be required to have masks.

Per city guidelines, walk-in customers are not allowed at salons or barbershops–all services must be by appointment only.

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