For nearly 11 weeks, there were no haircuts, no fresh color on graying heads and no visits to tanning beds.
Now that Lawrence County is going “green” starting Friday, lifting the bans on those items that many consider essential, there is another slight problem.
Good luck getting an appointment.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began 11 weeks ago, causing the shutdown of beauty salons, barbers and tanning establishments, average folk and celebrities alike have had no choice but to either embrace their grays or try and cut and color their own. That could mean a few “green” colors that the stylists will need to correct on the day that the county goes green.
Diane D’Amore Mangino, owner and color specialist at Salon Mangino at 2102 Wilmington Road for the past 10 years, had to cancel about 200 of her 300 clients who had appointments when the pandemic began. She is now servicing those clients in the order in which they previously had booked their appointments. She said she will work no fewer than 30 days without a day off to try and catch up.
“I didn’t really have people ask me do their hair in their home,” she said. “A lot of them messaged to see how I was doing. I lost my life’s work for the past 11 weeks.”
Mangino, who works alone in her salon, said she has filled it with disposable capes, disposable towels, masks, a UV light wand to disinfect tools and a large UV light to leave lit in the salon when no one is there. She said she will leave 15 minutes between customers so that she has time to disinfect. Mangino is Barbicide certified. Salons can only be 50 percent full at any given time and and everything is by appointment only.
“We can’t have magazines, snacks, candy or drinks, which people are used to getting at Salon Mangino,” she said. “Everything has been removed. We are following CDC and Pa. Board of Cosmetology guidelines.”
The story is the same at Headquarters at 226 N. Liberty St. in Mahoningtown, where owner Tony Flynn has decided to wait until Tuesday to re-open. He is the lone barber at his business, which services men but also does women with short hair.
“I decided to open Tuesday since I’m off on Mondays,” he said. “Things are going to be crazy for the first couple of days, so I figured I’d give things a few days to die down.
“My book is completely full for Tuesday.”
Headquarters celebrated 10 years in business on May 10 and Flynn said business has been steady, but like the others, the North Hill resident was dealt a blow when he was forced to shut down.
“The first few weeks were really hard,” he said. “We just weren’t used to this. Thank goodness my wife is an essential worker (for UPMC corporate) and had a paycheck coming in. Once unemployment kicked in, we were OK for the most part.
“I did feel really bad for my regular customers, though.”
Flynn, who typically does 10-15 clients a day, said it was not uncommon for customers to ask him to cut their hair “just once,” and promised not to tell.
“I wasn’t going to do that,” he said, “but I had a good excuse because my wife (Liza) and I had our second baby at the beginning of May so I was unavailable. It was hard to tell people no who needed a haircut so badly.
“My hair needs cut too, to be honest,” Flynn said with a laugh, adding that a friend cuts his. “All I know is that I’ve never seen people so excited about being able to get their hair cut.”
Flynn said that he already has precautions in place and for the first time, will wear a mask, visor and gloves. He also plans to put 15 extra minutes between appointments so that he has time to sanitize.
REBECCA’S IS READY
Becky Frederick and her 16 employees are ready to go at Rebecca’s Salon in New Wilmington. The salon does much more than hair, providing such services as manicures and facials as well.
“I did a lot of research for what we needed to go,” she said. “We all bought black scrubs, which will we take home and wash. Our shoes are not going into our homes, we will leave them in our cars. All of our employees will wear either face masks or face shields.”
Frederick’s son, Maxwell, who will turn 18 on June 9, has been hired to stand at the door and take temperatures of customers with an infrared thermometer. Each customer will be met at the front door and be escorted in, where paperwork must be signed that the client had not been exposed to coronavirus previously. For those who come in as a family, all members other than the person in the chair must wait in the car. She said employees will stand at least eight feet apart and she is putting a half-hour between appointments for the various employees and will personally clean.
Friday will be a special day for Frederick herself. She contracted colon cancer last fall and is still battling some of the effects of it, but she says she is doing well.
“My friends and family and employees upgraded the salon while I was off,” she said. “They painted, cleaned and every single item that we hadn’t used in awhile got thrown away.
“Twenty years of owning it and this was the first time I took time off, while I was battling cancer,” Frederick added. “I am so happy to be back on Friday, you have no idea.”
Maryanne Genareo opened Township Tan in Union Township 19 years ago at 1604 W. State Street. In addition to tanning, she has a full boutique where she sells items like sunglasses, shoes, jewelry and purses.
When Lawrence County went “yellow” May 8, she was able to re-open her boutique.
“That was Mother’s Day weekend and we did really well,” she said. “Our local people have been so supportive, it’s kept us going.”
Genareo’s book is also full for Friday.
“We always took walk-ins but we will be by appointment only now,” she said. “We will take every precaution to make people feel comfortable. We’ve always cleaned above the CDC guidelines and we will go above and beyond with that now.”
Genareo, who has five employees, said she uses hospital grade Lucasol disinfectant and will cleanse bottles and light switches.
“We think we thought of everything,” she said. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook. People really want to start getting back to life.”