May 20, 2020

Commentary: Venturing back to a salon during the coronavirus scare

2 min read| Published On: May 20th, 2020|

By James Combs

Commentary: Venturing back to a salon during the coronavirus scare

2 min read| Published On: May 20th, 2020|

James Combs, a staff writer with Akers Media Group, proudly shows off his much-needed haircut.

Remember the shaggy, mop-top hairdo of the character Bobby Brady from The Brady Bunch? I’ve been sporting that ridiculous hairdo for several weeks. It’s not exactly comfortable as summer rapidly approaches, and it sure as heck isn’t stylish.

Unfortunately, my haggard look was here to stay as salons and barbershops throughout Florida were closed for more than a month due to the coronavirus pandemic. Every day became a bad hair day for myself and others like me who were in dire need of a haircut and coloring services.

I don’t own a do-it-yourself haircut kit, and I wasn’t about to use my dog trimmer to give myself a corona cut. There was only one way to get to the root of the problem: Wait it out until my stylist was allowed to re-open.

That magical day came on May 11.

I immediately made an appointment, but I wouldn’t be able to get in for eight days.

Then I learned why.

“When we returned, there were more than 500 voice messages on our phone,” said my stylist, Christy Maroney, who works at Michael’s Couture Salon in downtown Leesburg.

A trip to Michael’s is still the same comfortable experience it has always been, with some minor tweaks. For safety precautions, I waited outside the building until Christy was ready for me. Upon entering, I noticed that the stylists at Michael’s were still all smiles. Now, those smiles were partially hidden behind their face masks.

They are following strict guidelines to strike a balance between kickstarting the economy against the possibility of reigniting the pandemic. In fact, while each haircut begins with a trip to the shampoo room, there were already a maximum of two people in the room. I told Christy to reverse the usual order and just start chopping off my mop.

As chunks of white hair landed on my black apron, Christy assured me that I’d walk out of the salon coronavirus-free.

“I take 15 minutes between each client to sanitize my station,” she said.

Tools such as hair-cutting shears and scissors that she uses on the previous client are meticulously cleaned with Barbicide, a disinfectant solution. Those steps provide reassurance to coronavirus-leery customers. Others, Christy said, seem to be indifferent to the virus.

“I see two degrees of people. Some are just paranoid, and some seem like they don’t care at all.”

Rod Montgomery cares. A barber at Michael’s Couture Salon, he employs the same sanitation practices as Christy and thoroughly inspects his clippers and combs for any debris. His clients are extremely pleased that he’s back in operation.

“Everyone is biting at the bit to get out and have things go back to normal,” he says.

I know I was ready for my hair to get back to normal. It’s apparent that, even in the midst of a lockdown where we’re social distancing, most of us still care what we look like.




About the Author: James Combs

Akers Media Group's James Combs has been a staff writer for several local publications since August 2000. He has had the privilege of interviewing some of Lake County's many fascinating residents—from innovative business owners to heroic war veterans—and bringing their stories to life. A resident of Lake County since 1986, James recently embarked on a journey to lead a healthier lifestyle. He has lost 60 pounds and walks nearly five miles a day. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, skeet shooting and watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats!

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