'There's been several mullets': Barber shops reopen as rules loosen

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 8:57 AM AKDT
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Most people don't have a hairstylist living at home with them during this "hunker down" quarantine, which means most people have some pretty interesting hairstyles going on at this point: Shaggy and grown out, roots exposed, and badly in need of professional help.

This week, salons and barbershops got the go-ahead to open back up, but those that have are living in a whole new world of regulation and rules.

"So we had to get an abundance of gloves and masks and bleach, we've gone through a lot of bleach," said Dar Jenkins, owner, and barber at Northern Lights Barber Shop.

Even as the excess hair falls from the heads of clients, revealing a more stylish human beneath, it's easy to see a difference in the process of checking in and eventually reaching that chair.

"We used to be walk-ins only but because it's mandatory appointment, we have a number system so you come to the front door and get a number," Jenkins said. "That's when you get our appointment, you wait in your car and then our receptionist here Olivia, she's my daughter in law, she will give them a number, and then she's like Vanna White - she goes out through the shop and shows the number and then they come in."

After a month or more without access to a proper stylist or barber, employees are seeing some pretty interesting things walk through that door in need of a little hair maintenance.

"There's been several mullets," Jenkins chuckled. "A guy came in yesterday with a strip that his sister was cutting in his hair and she forgot to put the guard on, we've been fixing a lot of haircuts."

Getting used to the new rules has been an adjustment. Hairstylists must wear masks and gloves, and clients must also wear masks or they aren't admitted into the shop. Everything gets wiped down, cleaned, and made ready for the next number in line.

So far, the team at Northern Lights Barber Shop seems up to the task.

"It's a little weird wearing these things because we're not used to it but starting to get used to it," Jenkins said. "Today's day three, we've been really busy every day. I think we're one of the only one's open."

Calling around to a number of salons and shops, this seemed to be accurate. Some owners are holding off a few days as they wait for PPE orders to come in. Others are just taking the extra time to really prep and get their staff up to speed on how to move forward. Many of those businesses have targeted Friday or Monday as their official dates to reopen.

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