Stateline salons and tattoo shops reopen under Phase 3 of Restore Illinois

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) ─ Stateline residents are not taking it slow when returning to businesses that provide self care. Whether that chair is at salon or tattoo parlors, Rockford shop owners had a busy Friday.

“In the last couple of days, we’ve had probably 50 voicemails a day of people trying to get in,” said The Experience Salon and Spa Manager, Leah Johnson.

Salons and tattoo shops are among some of the businesses allowed to reopen as Illinois moves into Phase 3 of Restore Illinois. With masks on and social distancing in place, Walking into The Experience Salon and Spa in Rockford, 6824 Spring Creek Rd., takes on a slightly different experience than in the past.

“When they get into the foyer we have them sign a waiver. It’s just like the same questions you see when you go to a health care facility,” said Johnson. “And then we take their temperature, which is also written down in the waiver, and then we allow them to come in and we immediately direct them over to get their hands washed and then we wash our hands as well.”

Salon phones have been ringing off the hook. Johnson says the rush is a good time for stylists to build their client lists.

“Maybe they forgot to call their regular person and now they can’t get in, so they’re just looking to get in,” said Johnson. “You get them in your chair, you give them an amazing service, now they’re your new client.”

Tattoo Bob’s in Rockford, 5847 Forest Hills Rd., flipped on its open sign as well. About 40 people came to get some new ink, or piercing in just the first few hours of being open. Owner Robert Nelson says that did not put a dent in the back log of appointments.

“They were all waiting. They had appointments for before this all happened and we’re all getting caught back up now,” said Nelson. “It’s going to take a while, but we’re going to do it.”

Nelson says while the masks are going to take some getting used to, keeping a clean work space is just part of being a tattoo artist.

“Everything’s one time use. We do spore testing on our sterilizers every month,” said Nelson. “We’re licensed by the health department and they come in and inspect, so it’s just kind of second nature to us.”

Tattoo Bob’s is taking walk-ins and appointments, while staff makes sure the waiting area does not get too crowded.

The Experience Salon and Spa says it will only take appointments for the time being.

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