Michigan barber shops, salons unveil 8-step reopening plan, urge Gov. Whitmer to lift ban

Coalition outlines specific steps to combat spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her May 18, 2020, daily coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan barber shops and salons are coming together to ask Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allow them to reopen, even creating an eight-step plan to do so safely.

More than two dozen cosmetology salons, spa and barber shop owners and workers, representing more than 350 facilities across Michigan, delivered a letter Wednesday, formally asking Whitmer to lift the statewide ban on their services.

Click here to view the eight-step plan, as well as a full list of the businesses involved in this letter.

Whitmer has reopened some sectors of Michigan’s economy, but salons and barber shops across the state are still closed due to the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Safe Salons for MI coalition worked with officials from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to create and eight-part reopening plan.

Here are the eight steps the coalition believes will allow salons and barber shops to safely reopen:

  • Administrative controls for workers, including daily screening to ensure they’re healthy before starting each shift, requiring workers to stay home if sick, maintaining appointment and walk-in records -- including date and time of service -- and contact information to assist in contract tracing if needed.
  • Access control for customers and guests, including staggered entry, prohibiting the return of products, accepting customers by appointment only where possible and asking clients to wait outside in their vehicles until their appointment time.
  • Social distancing on the job site for both workers and clients, including barriers between employees where six feet of distance isn’t possible.
  • “Next level” best practices to ensure healthy hygiene on site will include the laundering of work clothing daily, eye protection for workers and limiting the personal items clients can bring with them for their appointment.
  • Sanitation requirements include cleaning merchandise before stocking, constant disinfection of work areas and instruments, disposal of single-use materials and much more.
  • Personal protective equipment, including masks, will be used by all workers. Clients will also be asked to wear masks, and face coverings will be provided upon entry to those without one.
  • Should a client later test positive for COVID-19, facilities will work with local health departments to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals to help facilitate effective contact tracing.
  • Following facility closures each day, they will undergo deep cleaning with disinfectant cleaners approved by the EPA as effective against human coronavirus.

“Michigan’s licensed cosmetologists, barbers and their team members are capable, ready, and excited to get back to work meeting the needs of our clients,” said Lisa Dennison, a regional director for Michigan Supercuts and Cost Cutters salons located across the state. “Our salons have always met detailed health and safety standards, and we’ve developed a comprehensive plan to go even further to keep everyone who walks through the door healthy. We urge Gov. Whitmer to lift her ban on our jobs immediately.”

The plan is modeled after efforts in 36 other states, including Ohio, that are currently open and serving customers, the coalition says.

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Owners argue these services are more safely delivered in regulated environments than in places like the homes and garages of their clients, which are unregulated and lack professional sanitation standards and protocols.

“The coalition was grateful for the opportunity to work with state regulators in developing the plan," said Caileigh Hoff, co-owner of Xclusive Studio in Brighton. "We now ask the governor to let us implement it. We work safely because the health of our clients and the health of salon, spa and barbershop workers like me are worth the effort. We’re ready to get back to our salons -- regulated, sanitary environments -- to properly protect ourselves and our clients. We’re ready to get back to work.”

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.