At Insignia Salon in Walnut Creek, clients had their temperature checked Wednesday before walking in. They then squirted sanitizer on their hands before heading to their chair, which had shower curtains on either side to separate them from other clients.
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"I am impressed. I didn't expect any of this," said Michelle Moskowitz as she gestured to the shower curtains. She and her stylist both wore masks. Her stylist also had a plastic shield over her face and wore gloves.
"I was nervous, definitely. There's a reason why they closed everything. It's scary," Stylist Ashley Flowers said about returning to work.
She is worried about her child and her parents, who she is quarantining with.
"My favorite new rule is taking everyone's temperature before you walk in. It definitely appeased me and made me feel more confident to come in," Flowers said.
The mood inside was festive. Flowers even greeted Moskowitz with a goody bag.
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"She gave me a little bottle of champagne, a cookie, a bottle of hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper, as a joke, but this is so cute," Moskowitz said.
The salon was shut down for three months. The owner says once the re-opening date was announced, they were overwhelmed with calls from clients wanting appointments.
"We are so excited. We are thrilled. I am sure most of us didn't sleep all night. I didn't! I woke up at 5 a.m. It's like going back to school for the first time," said the salon's owner, Regina Muslimova.
She says they worked hard to put safety measures in place, even hiring a new staff member to clean the salon throughout the day.
"I can assure the clients and everyone who works here that it is very safe," Muslimova said.
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Client Matt Shupe said he was not worried about the virus while getting his haircut.
"I feel a lot safer here than I do going to Costco or Target. These should not have been shut down as long as they were," he said.
Muslimova says they have extended their hours and won't be taking days off as they try and meet the demand.
"We are going to be pushed to the limit but we have had enough rest," she said, laughing.
County officials are also now allowing houses of worship to hold services with 100 people in attendance. Swimming pools can now allow more people. They opened earlier this month but now will be allowed to have one person per 75 square feet, which is the state guideline.
But not every pool is ready to reopen, including the pool at Walnut Creek's Heather Farms or the public pool in Concord. Officials say they are still working on reimagining the spacing requirements, hiring back and training staff, and getting personal protective equipment.
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