NEW YORK (Reuters) – Masks, gloves and temperature checks became standard protocol before a $1,000 haircut at the posh Julien Farel salon on Monday, as New York advanced to a new stage in its COVID-19 reopening.
Top-dollar stylists at the chic establishment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side began snipping through the 1,200-person waitlist of clients determined to be transformed from shaggy to spectacular after three months of coronavirus lockdown.
“It’s worth every penny, because it’s so easy to take care of,” said Susan Warren, wearing a robe as she sat in a styling chair and removing her mask to speak with a Reuters reporter.
“You feel like a million bucks. Now, I would eat peanut butter and jelly and get fabulous hair and color if that need be,” said Warren, who lives in New York.
The million-bucks feel now starts with hand sanitizer and a mask in an effort to maintain New York’s new bragging rights as the U.S. state with the lowest rate of coronavirus infection. Just months ago, New York was the epicenter of the pandemic.
“From the moment a client arrives, we’re temperature-taking at the door,” said Suelyn Farel, the salon’s chief executive officer and wife of Julien Farel, the main stylist.
Clients “put their handbag inside of a plastic bag. We’re handing out individual wipes, which is for the phone, the glasses. Of course, everyone has to be in a mask, and we’re recommending handwashing and sanitizer,” she said.
Demand for just the right coif – no matter the cost – was so strong after months of stay-at-home orders that Farel expected business would be up through autumn.
“We have a huge waitlist. People have been calling, emailing, sending texts. I mean, it’s been nonstop,” she said.
Julien Farel said he was thrilled to be back at work in a gradually reopening Manhattan. His clientele appeared to be similarly excited to have some order and color restored to their flowing, sometimes graying locks.
“Twelve hundred people on the waiting list,” he marveled. “Finally, today is, like, ‘Yes! We’re live!”
(Additional reporting and writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by David Gregorio)