Businesses prepare to open Friday under new Texas guidelines

With Texas barbershops and beauty salons allowed to reopen starting Friday, business across the Houston area are now scrambling to prepare.

NEXT STEPS FOR TEXAS: Hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons can open Friday, May 8; gyms May 18

Visible Changes will be among some of the first hair salons in the state to reopen their doors come Friday, May 8. Visible Changes is a family-owned business based in Houston. They have 13 salons across the state, including 8 locations in the Houston area.

Not all their locations will open on Friday, but those that are will be reopening with a lot of new rules to comply with Governor Abbott's safety guidelines.

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The salons’ Chief Operating Officer, Meagan McCormack said Visible Changes has been planning for this day for weeks -- stocking up on masks, face shields, thermometers and cleaning supplies.

"Some of our team is not ready to work yet. We're not going to force anyone to work. We're going to be taking employee's temperatures, as well as our clients temperatures before they come in. We're going to require our clients to wear face masks. Nobody's going to be allowed to take the face masks off while they're in our salons. For example, if our people or clients need to drink water or they want to eat something, we're having them go outside the salon," McCormack said. 

Other safety measures include rotating employees schedules every other day by groups to avoid cross-contamination, accepting customers by appointment only, eliminating the waiting area and limiting services.

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"We're not doing blow dries. When we book our client appointments, we're going to ask them to come in with clean hair. If they want it wet, then they can come in with wet hair. If they want to do a dry cut, we'll do a dry cut on them. But we won't blow dry them.

"Same thing with our shampoos. We don't want to shampoo. We want to stay away from the shampoo bowls, as much as we can. But if they're coming in for color, obviously we have to shampoo them out.

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"So we'll keep everyone's masks on. We'll put even like a clean towel over their face if they're getting shampooed, just to make sure that they're safe," McCormack said. 

Stylists will also be spaced out to work at every other station to maintain social distancing and sanitizers will be installed at every location.

McCormack said Memorial City and Baybrook will be some of the first two locations to reopen Friday, judging by the interest of employees there to return to work.

On May 18, Texas will also allow gyms, office spaces, and non-essential manufacturers to reopen with restrictions. Gyms can reopen to 25% capacity, however, showers and locker rooms must remain closed. Equipment must be disinfected before and after each use.

Bars will remain closed for now.

Governor Abbott said surge response teams will be prepared to address any spikes in COVID-19 cases in a particular area.