By Kayla Anderson
The staff at P&P Hair Designs recently reopened their doors last weekend to do people’s hair and nails, but the salon isn’t like how it used to be.
“We were allowed to open at 50 percent capacity,” P&P Hair Designs Owner Paula Reed says. Under the new conditions, staff isn’t allowed to double book appointments (like how in the past a couple would come in and a hairstylist would cut one person’s hair while another is waiting on a color treatment). No waxing can be done, either.
“That kind of sucks because people are running around with unibrows and Groucho marks,” says Reed.
The new rules are hard to adjust to, especially for an industry that has already been held to the strictest health and safety guidelines.
“In this industry we’ve always been sanitary, you can’t get away with any slack. The new sanitation/cleaning process takes an extra 10 minutes to do after each client which isn’t hard because that’s been around since the beginning of hair salons, but it’s wearing the masks and people not being able to come in together that is difficult.
P&P Hair Designs closed on Wednesday, March 18 due to COVID-19 and opened the weekend of May 16.
“What really disturbed me is that last Tuesday a gentleman came up and knocked on the door and asked if we were open to the public. We’ve been open to the public for 30 years, we’ve always served the public, that’s our whole business model. That threw me off, realizing this new reality,” Reed says.
She says that the biggest challenge of coming back to work in the new COVID-19 era is wearing a mask.
“It’s tough, it gives you a headache, nausea, it hurts your ears, there’s steam getting in everywhere. People don’t realize it, but hairdressing is a physical job,” she says. Reed adds that there were a lot of tears that first day back, but more from being uncomfortable than from being happy to be back at work. It was hard to totally tell, though, since people’s expressions are hidden behind a mask.
Reed says that she can’t demand that customers wear masks, but that salon staff is taking extra safety precautions. She also believes that maybe many community members are already immune to COVID-19 as she remembers back in November when around 85 kids got sick and they almost closed the school down. And maybe it’s because she is used to working in an industry that maintains strict sanitation standards, but Reed doesn’t understand why health officials are so adamant about people washing their hands.
“What’s this new thing about washing your hands? Doesn’t everybody do that? And why do you have to use hand sanitizer, what the hell happened to soap and water?” Reed ponders.
Under the new guidelines, customers can only book their appointments by phone, P&P Hair Designs can’t accept any walk-ins because Reed believes that the State of Nevada wants to keep capacity at a minimum.
“So, when families come here, the kids have to come in while their parents wait outside. It’s weird,” Reed says.
The demand was definitely there when P&P reopened its doors, though.
“The first day back we called seven weeks worth of clients,” Reed says, which is well over 50 people. However, right now it’s just Reed and two other hairstylists; her manicurist quit.
“I don’t know if it’s because of COVID-19 or what. People have their fears,” she sadly says. “It’s just different,” she adds.
Between appointments, self-proclaimed germaphobe and P&P cosmetologist Christina Janis said that being furloughed for two months was mentally draining as she waited around for unemployment, but once that kicked in about a month ago things started getting a little easier.
“I had a bit of anxiety not knowing when I could come back to work,” she says, going from serving an average of 10 customers a day to only six or seven. Janis specializes in hair, manicures, and pedicures, working five days a week.
When asked what the biggest challenge is of going back to work under the new restrictions are, Janis says, “Getting used to wearing a mask for 10 hours a day. It’s hard to breathe and it’s claustrophobic. Sometimes I get panic attacks,” she nervously laughs.
However, P&P Hair Designs and its owner is holding onto hope that things will get back to normal and they are all absolutely thrilled to see their customers again.
“We are busy, and it brightens our day to see our customers and they’re so happy to be here too. They’ve been incredibly gracious and understanding, the love and support has really been over the top,” Reed adds.
P&P Hair Designs on 766 E Street in Hawthorne is open to the public 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and accepts clients by appointment only. To book an appointment, call 775-945-5279.