Return to business both exciting, stressful for Pittsboro salon owner

Posted 5/29/20

When Gov. Roy Cooper announced a Phase Two plan that lessened restrictions on some businesses — including hair salons — and allowed them to re-open at 5 p.m. last Friday, it was the welcome news Susan Lecrone has waited weeks to hear.

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Return to business both exciting, stressful for Pittsboro salon owner

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PITTSBORO — When Gov. Roy Cooper announced a Phase Two plan that lessened restrictions on some businesses — including hair salons — and allowed them to re-open at 5 p.m. last Friday, it was the welcome news Susan Lecrone has waited weeks to hear.

It’s been a total of 10 of them since the Pittsboro hair stylist last saw a client at her business, Uppercuts Tanning and Hair Salon, at 204 Sanford Road.

In an abundance of caution, she temporarily shuttered Uppercuts on March 12, 13 days in advance of the state’s March 25 mandatory closure date for all salons, attempting to quell the spread of COVID-19.

It’s been a difficult stretch of time — the hardest part, Lecrone said, being “not having any money.”

So last Wednesday, she began to spring back to action after the lengthy economic hiatus, and was busy executing plans to make her Friday re-opening smooth and safe.

Lecrone said she’s excited.

“Very much,” she said. “I’m excited to have everybody come back. A lot of my customers have been texting me, wanting to know if they can come back sooner, or have me do their hair for them, because they’re getting desperate. And I just said ‘No, I have to wait until I have the clearance from the government to do that,’ because I don’t want to lose my license and I don’t want to go to jail for a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

In anticipation of the Friday opening, Lecrone was in her shop Thursday afternoon, working with fellow stylist Kara Thomas to have the shop ready — with all safety precautions in place — for customers.

A large pump bottle of hand sanitizer sits on a table just inside the salon’s entrance.

Also on hand is a box of disposable face masks which customers without a mask of their own will be required to wear during their service.

Upon entrance, Lecrone will also be taking temperatures of her clients using a no-contact thermometer.

Customers will be asked, in addition, to sign a waiver that releases “me and anybody who works here and the owners of the building and the leasing agency, anybody involved, from any liability should they contract COVID-19,” Lecrone said.

All chairs have been rearranged to maintain distancing.

And she and her stylists will be wearing masks, Lecrone said, and she’s purchased face shields to wear “to provide an extra barrier.”

While Lecrone was eager and excited to resume business, she said it’s also “stressful starting back, to try to be able to make sure we’re doing everything correctly to keep everybody safe. So there’s a little bit of anxiety there. I haven’t been going out very often myself. But I think with these measures in place, we’ll be pretty good. Also requiring our customers to wear masks. I think that’s about the best we can do.”

The extra measures, of course, go beyond normal sanitation requirements, which were stringent prior to COVID-19, Lecrone said.

“This does go beyond what we’ve normally had in place for sanitation standards,” she said, “in that our spacing has to be more carefully monitored for social distancing, and there’s a capacity [limit 10] for the facility. Generally, of course, we don’t have to wear masks or gloves or take temperatures. Of course, the State Board of Cosmetology does closely monitor the health and sanitation of every licensed hair salon. And we follow pretty strict standards for disinfection and sanitation already anyway.”

Usually closed on Sundays and Mondays, Lecrone anticipates working “every day,” she said, at least for a while, to accommodate as many clients as she and her crew — which includes Thomas and stylist Hannah Clewis. “We’re hoping to get all these people in and get them taken care of as quickly as possible.”

Randall Rigsbee can be reached at rigsbee@chathamnr.com.

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