A line of mullets and highlight-needy heads paraded in and out of hair salons and barber shops Wednesday, the first day in weeks Governor Gavin Newsom allowed hair stylists and barbers to practice their crafts.
“We were not prepared to open,” said Rafi Kuhami, owner of One Salon in Chula Vista. “The Governor announced it just yesterday and here we are.”
Kuhami said he couldn’t wait for this day, but he was caught off guard. His salon was closed for almost 10 weeks.
“We couldn’t imagine that one day we’d be completely shut down,” said Kuhami. “It’s devastating as you can imagine.”
“I was very happy to hear that we were open finally and that we can provide our services,” he continued.
However, unlike his competition across the parking lot at Sport Clips, Kuhami said he wasn’t ready to open Wednesday.
“I wasn’t sure what the rules and regulations were going to be until I went home and kind of read the fine print,” he said.
Kuhami tried to prepare for for reopening as best he could, and even reached out to contractors about building Plexiglas shields between each station. He soon learned the new rules didn’t require the barriers, but did require social distancing. He was forced him to eliminate several stations in his shop which would limit him to about 25% capacity.
Kuhami also created a separate room in the back for customers who don't feel comfortable sitting next to other clients.
Kuhami also briefed his employees about the new rules and how to conduct themselves with clients.
“We are pretty much just training on the new situation.”
The biggest challenge is cutting hair while wearing gloves, according to a few of Kuhami's stylists. But Kuhami said the salon's phone is ringing off the hook so he's confident his stylists will be able to work through it.
“We were getting slammed with phone calls and messages,” he said.
Kuhami is welcoming the rush of new appointments because he didn't qualify for any federal loans and never stopped paying rent at either of his salons in Chula Vista and El Cajon.