Safety to a Hair:

Salons reopen with new COVID-19 precautions

By Grace Ramey, Bowling Green Daily News

     As hair salons reopen under Gov. Andy Beshear’s Healthy At Work program, hairstylists are implementing new safety procedures to ensure they help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

     At The House of Harper in downtown Bowling Green, owner and hairstylist Kristin Harper has clients electronically sign a protocol, service agreement and waiver form before arriving for their appointments. The form describes all of the safety procedures the salon has adopted since reopening Tuesday. By signing the waiver, clients acknowledge the risk of contracting the virus, understand the series of health rules they will experience upon arrival and agree to not take legal action if they contract the coronavirus during their visit.

     “The biggest thing is to make sure we’re on the same page so they’re not surprised and understand what we’re doing here,” Harper said.

     As laid out in the form, Harper asks clients to alert her when they arrive, stand at the front door where she has provided face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer and take their temperatures. All temperatures are documented in a booklet for her own records.

     Inside, extra face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer sit in every room for clients to use to prevent cross-contamination. All hair and eyelash tools, such as scissors and brushes, are soaked in jars of barbicide to be disinfected between clients. To cover the costs of these additional sanitation procedures and provided PPE, the salon has added a $5 service charge to each clients' service total.

     Upon reopening the salon, Harper said she felt a lot of anxiety about putting her health in her clients’ hands.

     “I’m grateful to be open and do all these things,” she said, “but just because I’m really cautious here doesn’t mean everyone else is, too.”

     Harper, who has been a hairstylist for almost nine years, said the hardest changes to adapt to have been wearing gloves for services in which she normally goes bare-handed and accommodating to the added time to disinfect between clients.

     “It’s all a learning curve,” Harper said, “like getting into a new habit. I’d rather prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

This photo story was produced for the Bowling Green Daily News.