COVID-19 and the “New Normal”

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The COVID 19 Pandemic hit my business fast and hard. In the early stages of this virus, the media, health institutions, and appointed officials viewed this issue as just another ordinary virus. I remember them all claiming that there was no need for alarm. Then suddenly, these same individuals upgraded this virus as a, “worldwide life ending crisis”.

Shortly afterwards, mass panic struck! Infection and death rates spiked worldwide. All media outlets, as well as public opinion, promoted nothing but negativity and despair. Afterwards, governors shut down their state economies and small businesses, like mine, found themselves out of business.

At the start of 2020, never in my wildest dreams, I envisioned closing my business for almost three months and over a virus. However, I found creative ways in which to interact with my clients. I created podcasts, videos and newsletters to keep my clients informed and motivated. I assured them I would be back after this pandemic passed. I noticed how frightened and anxious some of my clientele had become over this pandemic ordeal.

While my salon was mandated to be closed, I re-certify myself with the new guidelines for sanitation with COVID-19, as well as a refresher certificate on basic sanitation.

Early in May, Northcentral Health department sent letters out, for a reopening on May 20. After much hard work and lots of expense, two days before salons were to reopen, Governor Lamont postponed it. His reason being, not all salons were ready and prepared. This was not only frustrating and disappointing, it meant rescheduling weeks of appointments and disappointing clients again.

June 1 at 8:30 a.m. I reopened The Salon at the Village. I chose to keep the atmosphere light and fun after a difficult three months of a pandemic. I decorated with Corona beer and lights, each client 21 and up would receive a Corona and a masked smile! This was well received by all!

The protective guidelines issued by the state are exceedingly difficult to work with all day. Long hours wearing a mask and shield leave me exhausted. I have accommodated my schedule, so that I can take a break without the mask on between clients. I have worked out a routine to easily sanitize between clients, as well as an hour prep time before I start my day and after as well. The “new normal” is without a doubt more work and something to get accustomed to.

The PUA (pandemic unemployment assistant) for the self-employed is flawed to say the least. It has left many small business owners and self-employed with no help whatsoever. The system has been locked or frozen for most. There are no contact numbers to call for help. The last advice given was to email your state representative. The grants are few and far between.

Even though I am back in business, this pandemic had left its psychological, emotional and financial impact. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels this way. The good news is that now, I feel much more prepared to best handle and survive the next crisis, whenever and if ever it happens again. Finally, I’d like to thank my clients for their continued support.

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