Reopening Tennessee: TN School of Beauty reopens for salon services, classes; offering free cuts for essential workers

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After being closed for several weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tennessee School of Beauty reopened its doors Wednesday.

The first day open was special in another way, in that the salon is offering free hair cuts to all essential workers on Wednesdays.

RELATED: Governor signs Executive Order No. 33 allowing close contact businesses to reopen Wednesday

Although the salon could have reopened on Friday under Knox County’s approval, along with the other close-contact services in Knoxville, Adam Brown, the owner of the school, wanted to wait for a few reasons.

Brown said he wanted to have a practice reopening for the students, without clients, so they could get accustomed to the new guidelines they have to follow.

He also said that because TBS is a school, he needed more approval from the county and regulatory board to reopen for the teaching aspect.

Brown said the online classes weren’t enough to help the students get their needed hours of education and training.

“The students were only getting about half of the hours that they normally get, because, you know, otherwise they’re normally here five days a week, seven-and-a-half hours a day. On Zoom, they were getting four hours a day, roughly,” Brown said.

For a student to receive their license, they need 1,500 hours of education and training.

Brown said they had to make several changes in order to follow social distancing guidelines in the classrooms and salon.

Fortunately, TBS has a lot of square footage to work with.

“Where we might have had a class of 40 with three teachers, now it’ll be, you know, three separate classrooms of 12 or 13 people,” Brown said.

He said that in class demonstrations will also have to change.

“If a teacher was demoing, she’d say ‘alright everybody gather around here.’ And you know, there would be 25 students around a teacher demoing. Now, we’re going to have to break that into groups,” Brown said.

He said they will also use a Go Pro to help with demonstrations. The teacher will have the Go Pro on their head, and the video will show on mirrored TVs.

Brown said the school would also be able to start new classes like they would’ve been able before the pandemic, but will some minor changes to the schedule.

“Our aesthetics class, which was supposed to start May 19, we’ve had to postpone until June 16. Our cosmetology class that was going to start in May, now is just going to start in June. We’re back to enrolling the full number of people we would have,” Brown said.

While teaching sessions change, so will client cuts and services.

Instructors usually walk around to make sure students follow their lessons, or answer any questions a student might have.

Now, instructors have to keep an eye out for more, according to Chad Walker, director of operations for TBS.

“We’re constantly reminding them that we have to take these extra precautions, we have to stay six feet apart, that we have to continuously wash our hands, disinfect our implements, and using clean capes in between each guest,” Walker said.

Brown and Walker said that in order to keep clients and students safe, everyone’s temperature is checked before walking through the door, students will walk the clients inside, only every other chair is used, both clients and students must wear face masks, stations are thoroughly cleaned after each use and same for the capes.

TBS will provide a face mask for clients at $2 each if they don’t have one. Brown said the money will be donated to a relief fund.

The salon will have disposable capes, so students don’t have to wash after each use. The capes have been ordered, but hadn’t been delivered as of Wednesday.

Brown and Walker also said that students were not going to shampoo, unless needed, or blow-dry their hair.

“We’re only shampooing if they have a color service or if it’s a chemical service that requires a shampoo, and we’re not blow drying at this time just to keep the spread of (the) virus and germs at bay,” Walker said.

Destiny Henson, a student at TBS, said the new changes made it a little difficult to cut the client’s hair. They have to work extra hard to make sure the cut is perfect before the client goes home, which can be hard without seeing how it looks dry or wet.

She said she knew the extra precautions would make her a better stylist down the road.

“Us being trained in sanitation as it is in order to get out license, I feel like we’ll have more experience in sanitation on a whole other level. So, I’m definitely thankful for that,” Henson said.

On top of making safety and education a priority at TBS, Brown and Walker said they wanted to give back to the community by offering free hair cuts for all essential workers on Wednesdays.

“Just like all the other businesses, I haven’t had any revenue for the last 7 weeks, but I felt like it was more important to reward these people who were out there fighting for us,” Brown said.

“All of those essentials that we need to live our everyday, comfortable lives, they’ve been out there doing that on the front lines while we’ve been safe at home. So we feel that we owe that back to our community,” Walker said.

The salon will also have a few hours a week set aside for senior citizens. That’s on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

To schedule an appointment, click here or call 865-588-7878.

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