Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Salon owner creates outdoor beauty parlor as businesses reopen under 'Phase One'

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BATON ROUGE - One hair salon in Baton Rouge is looking to maximize its space, indoors and out, while keeping employees and customers safe.

Sheri Blackwell, the owner of Shears Etc., says she’s had to learn to adjust after being in business for over thirty years. Her hair salon took on almost five feet of water during the 2016 flood.

And now, after being closed for two months because of COVID-19, she’s learned to adjust yet again.

That adjustment comes in the form of two full-service haircutting stations in her parking lot off Millerville Road. Both old customers and new can see it right when they pull up.

Following phase one reopening orders, Blackwell got the idea for the outdoor cutting station while she was waiting out the stay-at-home order. 

“Just being a little safer, our older bunch feels a little safer not being inside,” Blackwell said.

She says that keeping true social distance while getting your haircut is impossible. So the outdoor, fresh-air hair cuts became a compromise.
“Since we have to touch people and be right on top of them, it’s a little safer for them,” Blackwell said.

It still works just like any other salon that is open right now. All are required to following guidelines from the Louisiana Cosmetology Board in order to operate. 

“You must wear a mask at all times, your stylist must have a mask on also,” Blackwell said.

You’ll still be temperature checked and have to sign a COVID-19 waiver stating that you’re symptom-free.

Blackwell hasn’t been trimming and cutting too much at her new outside space because of the recent rainy weather. The salon is still providing services inside by appointment.

Outdoor hair cuts are also being limited to the morning and evening hours due to the temperature that is steadily rising as we enter June.

“Really would have been nice last month if we could have done it. The weather was great,” Blackwell said.

Despite a little humidity and maybe a few beads of sweat, Blackwell says most customers have embraced this new experience. 

“They feel a little more comfortable talking. Right now with masks on and stuff, they sit in the chair and they don’t talk. It’s not that same feeling,” Blackwell said.

It’s a different feeling with the same customers that are now coming back to support their neighborhood salon, just like they always have.

“It’s kind of a joke around here, they make a remark, ‘you have an older crowd as far as customers.’ I say, ‘well they weren’t that old thirty-something years ago,’ Blackwell said. “They’ve seen us through the flood and everything else that’s come through here in the past 30 years.”

Shears Etc., like many other salons, has expanded its hours to space out appointments, providing hairdressers with more work. Those are just two more reasons why Blackwell says she wanted to create her outdoor cutting stations.


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