Even though restrictions have been lifted to allow beauty and barber shops to resume operations, Uptown Salon and Boutique owner, Jan Robinson said business is just not the same.

Uptown Salon and Boutique is feeling the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though restrictions have been lifted to allow beauty and barber shops to resume operations, Uptown Salon and Boutique owner, Jan Robinson said business is just not the same.

The shop, located at 204 S. Main, in the heart of downtown Pine Bluff, Uptown Salon and Boutique was the go to place for every beauty enhancement you could think of.

From hair, nails, makeup, pedicures and even massages, this all-inclusive shop had it all. Men even frequented the shop for precise haircuts and pampering needs of their own.

On March 23, 2020, the Secretary of Health, in conjunction with the Governor, issued a directive that Barber Shops, Body Art Establishments, Body Art Schools, Cosmetology Establishments, Massage Therapy Clinics/Spas, and Medical Spas should close for in-person operations.

Effective May 6, those operations were allowed to resume services, but Robinson says business is not booming like it once was.

The salon and boutique has multiple rooms catering to every pampering need but those rooms aren’t filling up as fast as they used to.

“There has been a decline in customers,” said Robinson. “They are not comfortable with coming back.”

As of Thursday, May 28, Jefferson County has 213 active COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths. As numbers in coronavirus cases continue to increase, in-person consumer activity for some businesses are steadily decreasing.

Not only is Robinson seeing a decrease in customers, she also said the staff is uneasy about rendering their services.

According to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics March 2020 Unemployment Rankings for Arkansas, Jefferson County had a 7.1 rating out of 10.

“I don’t even have all of my stylist here right now,” said Robinson. “Some of them haven’t even come back to work.”

Robinson said she is making sure that all directives and guidelines set by the Arkansas Department of Health and the cosmetology board are followed.

“Everyone who comes through the door gets a temperature check and a little questionnaire has to be completed,” said Robinson. “We have to get their name and phone number, document the time they came in, the time they leave and who provided there service.”

Robinson explains that the documentation form must be stored for at least one month.

According to the ADH, services are by appointment only. Barbers, stylists and employees shall wear a face covering at all times.

“Anyone that comes to get their hair done, nails done, pedicure, any type of service, must wear a mask,” said Robinson. “Social distancing and masks are required in our boutique area.”

Businesses worldwide have been hit hard by the pandemic but Robinson feels no one has felt it harder like small business owners like herself.

“I personally don’t feel like it’s been fair,” said Robinson. “The restrictions they put on us compared to being able to go to Walmart with no temperature checks, no masks on and nobody regulating other than social distancing in a building that size is not fair.”

Unlike other salons, Robinson states haircuts are not done in one open area and every stylist has their own room.

“We don’t provide 14, 15 haircuts in the same room,” said Robinson. “It’s one stylist to one head and that’s all that is done in that room so I personally don’t feel like they have given small businesses a fair shake on the whole deal.”

Just when it couldn’t get worse for this small business owner, Robinson states the pandemic funds made available for small businesses through the CARES ACT, was not made available to her because she doesn’t have employees.

“I have two ladies that contract with me to work in the office area but they are not fulltime or part-time employees,” said Jane.

With something to offer everybody, Robinson just wants her clientele as well as her stylist to feel comfortable during this time.

Adjusting to the new normal, Robinson hopes business will pick back up soon.