An inside look at salons and restaurants reopening in Alabama

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Monday is the first day restaurants, salons, gyms and other businesses are able to reopen in Alabama. Restaurant dining rooms must be at or below half capacity and salons must take precautions to keep clients and staff safe.

At Studio 21 Salon, customers’ experience will be very different, starting before they even walk through the door. When clients arrive, they are asked to sit outside until an employee checks their temperature and screens them with a few COVID-19 related questions.

“So we’re actually doing temperature checks. I don’t know if we’ll have to do that indefinitely but for now, because the testing isn’t as big as we’d like it to be in the area,” Studio 21 owner Dana Deason said.

Deason said she and her team has been preparing for the reopening, taking extreme precautions.

“We’re a very busy salon. We work in a high volume most of the time. Just learning to slow down a little bit, do the proper sanitation, it’s something we do all the time, but we’re going a little more in-depth at this point,” she said.

Employees and clients wear masks. The salon is selling masks if a client does not come prepared. Plastic barrier dividers are in place at the front desk and in between shampoo bowls. Each stylist’s station is at least 6 feet apart.

Deason said she hopes state mandates allow them to remain open in the weeks and months to come. She said they’re expecting a record month for sales as their appointments are already filling fast.

For restaurants, some have decided to keep their dining rooms closed a little bit longer. Saw’s Soul Kitchen BBQ has a walk-up to-go window. They’ve decided to keep the indoor area closed to the public and continue to run their business through the to-go window.

“We’ve been really fortunate to have this awesome to-go window that we did in renovations for the restaurant. So we’re going to keep using that, and watch and see what happens over the next couple of weeks,” owner Brandon Cain said.

The restaurant has tables in a patio area for guests to eat their takeout meals.

“We’ve obviously bleached it, hosed it down and everything we could to keep it clean. Cleaned all the tables. And we’ve spaced them out, I think they’re about 8 to 10 feet apart,” Cain said.

Cain said the restaurant is hoping to open in early June.


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