Close-contact service providers in Superior are keeping safety in mind as they reopen, and some are even taking safety gear for a test drive.

Minutes into a color treatment Friday, May 15, stylist Jolene Timmers knew the face shield had to go.

“It’s not too bad to see, breathing is what’s killing me,” said Timmers, the owner of Serenity Spa and Salon featuring Posh Affair Boutique.

Before opening the doors to customers with appointments May 26, the business owner was testing out safety protocol with the help of her cousin, Kimberly DeBeir.

“She was always my guinea pig,” Timmers said.

“Even when she was in beauty school,’ said DeBeir, who lives in Duluth.

The session gave Timmers a feel for safety gear while DeBeir got her color refreshed. Timmers learned that wearing a mask and face shield through her normal 12-hour shift would not be practical, but the shield would be needed for close face-to-face services like hair washing and eyelashes.

Other changes will greet clients when they visit the business. Spacing work stations 6 feet apart will cut the salon’s capacity in half. Hair drying won’t be offered to prevent the forced air from possibly spreading the virus. No coffee or reading material will be available.

Chatting with clients, one of the perks of the job for Timmers, may be curtailed.

“The more I talk, the more I fog up,” she said.

Tattoo artists Jason Routely and Maggie Jenkins are planning to begin offering services at Skin Deep Tattoo and Piercing Tuesday, May 19. They may add more stringent layers to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s reopening guidelines.

That includes masks, gloves, temperature readings and required appointments. Prior to the health emergency, artists would mix unscheduled consultations in throughout the day.

“We will have a one person per artist policy, so that will change how we do things,” Routely said. “We haven't heard complaints from customers yet, but this will slow down our service.”

Stylists at Shearz 2 U LLC in the Mariner Retail and Business Center reopened Monday, May 18. Appointments and masks were required; customers were asked not to come early; all reading material — including the business’ lending library — were removed. Extra time was given for proper disinfection between clients.

Stylist Toni Forseth said most clients understood their decision to wait until May 18 to open.

“They know for us, everyone’s safety is priority,” Forseth said. “And for the most part, everyone seems to be OK with the new protocol in place, especially when they hear that some staff do have underlying health issues. In the end, we all have a responsibility to look out for not just ourselves, but for everyone. We have to keep working together.”

The new safety guidelines may have an unintended influence, as well.

“If nothing else, I think it’s teaching the world a little bit of patience,” DeBier said.