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SLO salon owners prepare to reopen but expect limitations to interaction with customers

Posted at 7:52 AM, May 27, 2020

Salons in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties can now reopen thanks to a Tuesday order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who left the matter up to individual counties.

Though many people are eager to get a haircut or some TLC for their nails, which haven't been professionally touched up in over two months, salon owners say their services make operate a bit differently than before.

A French Touch Salon on Nipomo Street in San Luis Obispo remained closed Wednesday but Patricia Kaspian, the salon owner, is looking forward to seeing clients just as much as they want to visit her.

"It's always been a place that you can feel totally safe and totally relaxed, which is what we've all been needing during this period of quarantine," Kaspian said.

Kaspian offers facials, peels, and makeup application in a style of service inspired by her French heritage.

This year marks 10 years of business for Kaspian but she can't celebrate the anniversary with customers quite as planned.

Due to social distancing guidelines, salon owner's like Kaspian haven't booked an appointment for a bit of mid-week magic in months.

"Lots of texts and emails and well wishes, can't wait for you to open," Kim Boege, the owner of Salon 62 on Garden Street in San Luis Obispo, said. "A lot of people think we are open, which we are for retail."

Down the street from A French Touch Salon, Boege greets retail customers from behind the counter at Salon 62, which has a storied history.

"We've been a salon since 1935," Boege said. "I'm the fifth woman proprietor here in SLO in this exact location."

But unlike her predecessors, Boege is faced with serving clients in the midst of the contagious coronavirus.

"We're going to work in shifts so there will be three of us at a time, so we'll continue social distancing," Boege said.

Salon 62 clients and stylists will be asked to wear masks, clients must wait to be called in from their vehicle, and cleaning products will be used before each new appointment.

"I've ordered some air purifiers with hepa filters," Kaspian said. "Sanitizer is critical. SOTHYS, my French line, is actually creating sanitizers and disinfectants so the scent won't be unpleasant when they come into the room."

Though the experience may look, and in some cases smell a bit different, these salon owners say providing relaxation and comfort are what they do best.