After Governor Henry McMaster announced last week that close-contact services could reopen Monday, that meant the return of business for hair salons, waxing/nail salons, massage parlors and tanning salons.

Steve Brinchi, owner of Capelli Salon in Columbia's Vista, said the transition back into normal life has been anything but normal.

“For hairdressers, having to wear a mask is different,” Brinchi said. “Adapting to this whole situation is different for us.”

Brinchi said reopening Monday was successful and busy, as the phones rang all day long with calls from eager clients looking to book appointments.

“We’re playing the big catch up game now,” he said. “Clients were sending me pictures of how much their hair has grown and pictures showing me how badly they needed a coloring.”

Brinchi explained that the “new normal” is a matter of adaptation. He said only one appointment is allowed in the salon at a time, and both hairdressers and clients must wear a mask. “If our clients arrive and do not have a mask, I have some here to provide for them,” he said.

Clients who are early or waiting for their appointment are asked to be seated in a chair that is provided at the storefront of the salon to maintain safe social distancing.

Brinchi said one of the most challenging aspects of being away from his clients for so long is the time apart. “They know a lot about us and we know a lot about them. We build strong relationships with our clients and it’s hard not seeing them for months at a time," he said.

Staff at Capelli Salon have adjusted their services to better serve clients by sanitizing their areas more frequently and limiting the number of people in the salon at a time.

Brinchi is thrilled to be back on the job and hopes to safely serve his clients as life in public begins again.

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