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Arlington Barbershops and Salons Adapt to Cutting Hair During Pandemic

As Arlington prepares to move into Phase 1 of the reopening, some local barbershops and salons are ready to reopen with a different look.

Illusions of Shirlington (4033 Campbell Avenue) is planning to reopen this Friday, though its owner acknowledged that the new restrictions will make her work and that of her staff a bit harder.

“I’m very excited about reopening,” said Irma Wheeler, owner of Illusions of Shirlington. “We’ve been very anxious and have been getting ready since the beginning of the shutdown.”

Illusions has been open for 27 years, but when it reopens on Friday, Wheeler said things will be a little different. There are plexiglass shields at the front desk to separate customers and employees. No more than 10 people, including staff, will be allowed in the salon at any given time. Each appointment will be longer to allow plenty of time to clean stations and tools between clients. Wheeler said that will mean longer hours for her and her staff.

“It’s been difficult to find supplies, even disinfectant,” Wheeler said. “We have face shields and masks, and we’re taking the temperatures of clients and staff. We’re trying to take every precaution… it’s going to be difficult, but we’ll be ready.”

Wheeler said masks, gloves and face shields will be work by all the staff, while clients must wear a mask. (Face shields will be provided at the shampoo station to keep the masks dry.)

Like other Arlington businesses, Wheeler said Illusions of Shirlington struggled with the closure but was able to maintain connections with their clientele through online tutorials on how they could trim their hair at home.

“We’ve done a lot of social media,” Wheeler said. “We’ve had requests from clientele, so we sent out instructions on how to do things themselves. Stylists were available to help people through it, sometimes explaining things outside in person. We were able to keep in touch.”

Meanwhile, in Ballston, the Bearded Goat Barber at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd) is preparing to reopen for haircuts and hair washes but without the signature beard trimming.

Like Illusions, Bearded Goat Barber said appointments will be prolonged to allow for proper disinfection and sanitation between clients. The shop will operate at 50% capacity, with every other chair being empty to allow for social distancing.

Further east, Clarendon salon Urban Halo (2900 Clarendon Blvd) had signs on the front door saying it too will be reopening on Friday.

Photo via Illusions of Shirlington/Instagram

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