East Tennessee salons continue strict COVID-19 protocols as delta cases rise

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As various industries brace for the aftermath of the delta variant, many beauty salons and barbershops across East Tennessee said they never let their guard down, to begin with.

At Lox Salon in Knoxville’s Old City, every employee wears a mask even though there’s no mandate. Salon Owner Brynn Crowell spoke about some of the other safety protocols her staff is following.

“Between every client, we’re sanitizing all of our tools, we’re sanitizing the chairs, the shampoo sinks,” said Crowell. She also said they are utilizing social distancing between each stylist-customer duo.

In addition to masking up and extra sanitation protocols, Crowell said she required all of her employees to get the vaccine.

“It’s really important to me, the health of our clientele, but also our staff as well,” she said. “If somebody were to come in contact with someone with COVID they’re going to be out of work for a long time and a lot of our employees work on commission.”

Crowell also expressed that unvaccinated customers who don’t want to wear a mask aren’t welcome in her salon. “We just ask the community to really respect that when they come in to wear a mask or, again, if they’re not vaccinated maybe go somewhere else.”

In Jefferson City is La Belladonna Salon. The Owner, Kim West-Baker, said she doesn’t mandate the stylists in her salon to get vaccinated since they rent out their station. However, the salon has strict cleaning procedures in-between each client, followed by masking up whenever the customer asks.

“We’ve had a cleaning lady in here every day,” West-Baker began. “We put up our shields, so we haven’t changed our protocol, even when the numbers went down, we continued our protocol and stayed the same.”

For Stylist Laura Steward, she has her own reason for masking up, her five kids. Steward also said she’s been sick with COVID once already, back in November. She said it was a combination of the lockdown and her time sick with the virus that helped her realize just how special her tight-knit community is.

“I’ve experienced the community and the love that my clients gave,” Steward said. “It just hit different.”

Below are some of the recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for beauty salons and barbershops. More can be found on the CDC website.

As a beauty salon or barbershop employer, your workforce might be exposed to the virus when:

  • In close contact (within less than 6 feet) with other people at the worksite, which can include clients, coworkers, vendors, maintenance workers, cleaning workers, contracted licensees, visitors, and delivery drivers.
  • Providing services to clients.
  • Touching or handling frequently touched objects or surfaces, such as cash, merchandise and equipment, and then touching their face, mouth, nose, or eyes.

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