Phillip Scott, from Sycamore, gets his hair cut by Dusty Gutierrez Friday at Dusty's Barbershop in Sycamore. Barbershops and Salons along with other types of businesses were open for the first time Friday since being shut down due to the pandemic. Gutierrez said he had 15 people waiting outside when he opened Friday.
Phillip Scott, from Sycamore, gets his hair cut by Dusty Gutierrez Friday at Dusty's Barbershop in Sycamore. Barbershops and Salons along with other types of businesses were open for the first time Friday since being shut down due to the pandemic. Gutierrez said he had 15 people waiting outside when he opened Friday.

SYCAMORE – Charles Ridulph of Sycamore usually gets his hair cut every four to five weeks at Dusty’s Barbershop in Sycamore.

When salons and barbershops were able to reopen during Phase 3 of
Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois reopening plan, Ridulph stopped by the barbershop to make an appointment for later in the day.

“I was nervous about going on the first day to get my hair cut, especially when people were lined up outside the door,” he said. “But it was so well organized, it put me at ease.”

Ridulph wore a face mask as he sat more than 6 feet from other customers as he waited to have his hair cut.

“I remember in the ’80s when having hair down over your ears was the style,” Ridulph said. “Now I can’t wait to get my hair cut. Everyone feels so much better after they get their hair cut.”

Gene Deisz of Sycamore also wore a face mask as he sat waiting in Dusty’s for a haircut.

“I come in every two to three weeks for a haircut, and I’m long overdue,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to things getting back to normal.”

In Phase 3’s new normal, much of customer experience has evolved into a chaperoned affair.

At Dolce Vita Salon and Day Spa, 2525 Bethany Road in Sycamore, walk-ins are not accepted. Clients must call ahead of time, set up an appointment, park their car in the lot and call the main number to check in, after which a staff member will greet them at their car and usher them inside.

Long-time loyalists, the ones who had to cancel their plans when the shutdown occurred, were allowed appointments first, owner Ann Allen said Friday, who opened her doors for the first time since March 17. She said she’s “lost hundreds of thousands of dollars” but felt it was right to close even before Pritzker’s stay-at-home order. Her daughter, a nurse who contracted COVID-19 earlier this spring, helped her come to that decision.

Social distancing is the name of the game at the 7,000-square-foot salon, which offers hair cuts, washes, styling, nail treatments and massages (though Allen’s decided to table the latter until Phase 4, to minimize physical interactions between clients and staff).

Plastic dividers custom-made by friend Steve McMaster divide hair washing and cutting stations, and stylists wear gloves, masks and face shields while cutting.

“We already had a high level of sanitation because of the law,” Allen said, referring to the tight stipulations beauty parlors operate under. “In a way, this is business as usual.”

A quick tutorial of the client experience at Dolce Vita showcases the homemade sanitizer spray staff spritz on the back and front of the hands of anyone who enters. She calls it “perfumatizer.”

Although it pained her to say it, Allen said children 12 and under aren’t allowed in for cuts at the moment. For those who wish to take an airier approach, curbside outdoor cuts are available, where clients can sit on stools outside for a quick cut, no wash. A large garage door in the front and doors out back leading to their shared DeKalb County Community Gardens plot bring fresh air throughout the building.

“When I bought the building, my husband and I argued about the garage door,” Allen said. “This week I got to say, ‘I told you so.’ ”

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