On Friday, Fremont’s Board of Health ordered businesses like barbershops, beauty salons and tattoo parlors to cease operations effective Sunday.
The board amended a section of the directed health measure order from April 1 to include ceasing “operations or activities at a gymnasium, fitness center, beauty salon, nail salon, barbershop, tattoo parlor and massage therapist establishments.”
While some of these establishments in Fremont have already closed, some have remained open until the order, receiving phone calls from customers in other communities like Omaha.
Riley Hoerath, an apprentice at Grand Illusions, a beauty salon at 300 W. 23rd St., said her mother and the salon’s owner, Susanne, has been doing the best she can to keep the location safe.
“She disinfects the door handles every 30 minutes, she disinfects the chairs, she changes the capes out,” she said. “She knew the closing was coming, but she’s been working really hard that not more than one person is in at a time and not touching other things that they don’t need to touch.”
The salon has also received more phone calls asking if it is still taking appointments, Hoerath said.
“I would not say we are busier with the people coming in because a lot of the regular clientele that come in weekly are of the elder population and are nursing homes, which aren’t allowed to go out and get their hair done,” she said. “So there was a decline in personnel coming in because of the virus, but the phone calls have increased because we are getting the overflow from other salons.”
While tattoo parlors like Eternal Tattoo and Body Piercing and Punx Tattoo have already closed, Redemption Tattoo at 412 E. First St. has remained open until now.
“I also understand the point of it all, but even in a rural area like we’re in, and with people that don’t really travel a lot, after a couple more weeks, we should really know what’s going on around this community,” said Jeff Shuster, manager and co-owner. “So the forced closure of things like that, I think is a little excessive.”
Shuster said the parlor never sees more than five people in the building at a time and has been well prepared for cleaning.
“As a tattoo artist, I’m trained in decontamination,” he said. “The cleaners we have are hospital-quality viral cleaners.”
But Shuster said the parlor’s clientele has remained steady, and despite the closing, the location will be able to recover.
“I think everybody is pretty much doing what they should be doing, I just don’t think we need to take it quite to the extremes that other places that are going to be way harder than we are,” he said. “But I just hope to see everybody get through this as quickly as possible, and hopefully, summertime kills this sucker.”
Smaller barbershop and hair salons have also remained open, despite locations like Sport Clips and Great Clips closing their doors.
Carry Gerke, a stylist at Backstage Revue Hair Studio at 1618 N. Grant St. in Fremont and owner of Shear Design at 641 N. Main St. in North Bend, said she’s seen more calls from people in Omaha this past week.
“When I talked to many of my colleagues, which we have been communicating a lot, I think everybody has great relief that the decision has been made,” she said. “Maybe not from the clients’ point of view, but from the stylists’ point of view.”
Gerke said both locations had been compliant to the guidelines prior to the city’s decision. She said Backstage threw out all of its magazines and books, cleaned doorknobs and capes frequently and never allowed 10 or more people in the location at a time.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, but also we have to comply to make it be better,” Gerke said. “And I told my clients that hats and scarves will come back in fashion temporarily.”
Curt Goracke, owner of Touch of Class Hair Studio at 419 N. Main St., said his job makes it difficult to maintain a distance between himself and the customers.
“It is a very high-risk profession,” he said. “Yes, I wear a mask periodically, when someone comes in and sniffles, but I’m in a close, close atmosphere.”
Since the news broke Friday morning, Goracke said he’s received multiple phone calls asking to get an appointment in before midnight.
“On Monday alone, I had nine Omaha haircut calls,” he said. “And I turned them down because I wanted to service only my clients and the ones that I knew.”
Although he also owns the Woodcliff Restaurant, which has been providing takeout services, Goracke said because Touch of Class doesn’t have that option, it will have to tighten its belt for the next few weeks.
“They will probably tough it out, and when I come back and resume, I will be the busiest one-armed paper hanger in the world,” he said.
Korrie Schulz, a hairstylist at Lakeside Hair and Nail Salon at 1624 W. Military Ave., said the staff has had to turn down calls for an appointment to the salon.
“We’ve had a few calls, but we are not taking clients that are not scheduled,” she said.
But with so many locations closing their doors, for the time being, Schulz said it’s a great way to stop the spread of the virus and keep people indoors.
“I do believe that it is very important for us to take a part in it and to follow what is needed,” she said. “Hopefully, through with the end of it, we’ll still have our clientele come back and everything will go back to normal, as it should be.”
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