“You’re one of the lucky ones,” Alyssa Sage told her client at The Hair Affair in Scottsbluff Tuesday. The color she was applying was one of the few Sage had in stock.

Due to manufacturing and shipping delays, local salon owners and stylists, such as Sage, have faced struggles of keeping product and essential sanitizing supplies in stock since the reopening of salons across the state on May 4.

“We can not get any sanitation supplies with our local distributor,” Sage said.

Tanya Bosche, co-owner and stylist at Indulgence Salon, said she has turned to online platforms to purchase cleaning solution, which have been marked up significantly in price. She emphasized the salon is left with no other alternative.

“I have been showing up at Target’s front door as soon as they open, hoping that I can find Lysol,” she said.

With in-depth sanitizing regulations and requirements in place, salon owners and stylists have been setting aside significant time for the sanitation process, while also struggling to locate and keep cleaning solutions in stock.

Going back to business after weeks of mandated salon closures has been an adjustment, Sage said  It has not been terribly difficult adjustment in terms of sanitation practices. Prior to COVID-19 closures, salon sanitation practices for tools and supplies has always been a daily task. Now, it has become an extremely frequent and timely action between clients.

“A 30-minute haircut has turned into an hour, because we need those extra 30 minutes between clients to sanitize all the surfaces and make sure we are keeping ourselves and everyone safe.”

Bosche and Sage alike have recently experienced significantly busy times since health regulations have been eased. They are only accepting clients on a one-on-one basis per stylist, by appointment only.

Sage said she has worked every day since May 4 and working a full schedule, while wearing a mask for her 10- to 13-hour work days has been extremely difficult.

Regardless of busy times, full schedule books and mask wearing requirements, cosmetologists agree getting back to work has been a relief after a number of weeks of mandated business closures.

“It feels good to go back to work even though we are playing catch up right now and it is difficult breathing in these masks, especially while we are wearing them for 10 to 12 hours a day,” Eli Arellano, stylist at The Hair Affair, said.

All of the stylists placed great importance on themselves and clients wearing masks throughout their appointments. Sage said everyone, including little kids, must be wearing a mask at all times during their haircuts.

“We have been very lucky that we have received mask donations from people in the community, so we can provide masks for our clients who may not have one,” Bosche said, referring to Indulgence Salon.

Both salons have limited their schedules to only clients with appointments. With social distancing rules in place, only allowing one client per stylist in the building at a time, makes it easier for regulations to be adhered to, Sage said. Throughout the process of reopening and returning business back to normal, the stylists agreed, it’s important for the public to be patient and acknowledge the struggles they are facing during this time.

“It is important for us to show we are serious about following these guidelines and establishing our sanitizing rules, for our own safety and the safety of our clients.” Sage said. “The public should know during this time, being patient is important because we are extremely busy, and we can not always get to the phone, especially during an appointment when we can not touch any unnecessary surfaces, including our phones.”

As a stylist and salon owner, Sage said, she has appreciated the understanding from her clients and continues to follow the state of Nebraska COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.

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