Local salon owner who collected 500,000 signatures reacts to reopening order

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Governor McMaster lifted restrictions on close-contact services and recreational activities Monday afternoon. Salons, barbershops, gyms, and tattoo services are able to reopen Monday, May 18th.

Phones ringing and buzzing and tears of joy capture the moment one hairstylist received McMaster’s good news. Weeks of isolation are almost over for one local salon owner.

“These are happy tears,” Amy Howie, Papillon Salon owner said as she thought about getting to welcome back her stylists and clients in less than a week.

North Myrtle Beach salon owner Amy Howie says it was the best Mother’s Day news, a day late. COVID-19 included starting a petition that got 500,000 signatures, a trip to the statehouse, and a closer bond with her industry.

“Out of everything bad, something good comes out of it. Just to reunite with other hairstylists and barbers, tattoo artists, massage therapists, nail techs, nationwide,” Howie said. “I have met so many new people through texting, Facebook, email, it’s been an amazing journey.”

Like many salon owners who have been isolated from their jobs going on seven weeks, Howie said she’s excited to return to work and able to continue supporting her family and will have a new appreciation for her job.

“Just to be able to open the doors legally and get back to work and make a living doing what we all love that’s our passion,” Howie said.

On Monday, May 18th, Papillon Salon will reopen with new precautions. Hair stations will be spaced six feet apart, clients will get health checks outside the door, and a consent form will need to be signed. More effort for owners and employees, but Howe says it will be worth the amount of joy filling the room.

“They are ready to get back, we have had numerous phone calls every day asking us if we are able to start back to work, they are ready to get their hair done, and we are ready to get back behind the chair,” Howie said.

As for booking clients, Howie said that will be a task in itself. She plans on starting with the clients she had to cancel before closing.

New signs will hang outside the salon where clients will wait until their temperature is taken. Howie said she won’t take new clients or walk-ins for now.

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