Alexandria Businesses Brace for a Cautious Reopening Next Week

After Gov. Ralph Northam’s announcement that restrictions could start easing up on Virginia businesses next week, some Old Town businesses are already preparing for steps on how to cautiously reopen.

A representative of the Old Town Boutique District said in an email that various businesses that had previously been closed are taking steps to reopen while still offering some degree of social distancing.

Xtend Barre in Old Town, a pilates studio at 1701 Duke Street, is planning to limit class sizes to ten people. Tape will mark spots on the floor where clients can stand to ensure safe distances and while props will be available, clients are encouraged to bring their own and will be provided extra wipes for cleaning.

The studio will be cleaned before and after all classes, with a “deeper clean” conducted nightly, the Boutique District said.

Team members will be required to wear face masks and a thermometer at the front desk will check incoming clients to ensure no one has a fever. The shower, meanwhile, will not be available for use for the time being.

A few blocks away, Salon deZEN at 118 N. Fayette Street is planning to open earlier and stay open later throughout the week to meet demand. Customers will be required to participate in temperature checks and must sign a waiver saying that they have not been around anyone who was sick.

All clients and staff will be required to wear a mask, while stylists will wear face shields and gloves. Salon stations will be spaced out at least seven feet apart and separated by acrylic barriers with each stylist taking only one customer at a time. The Boutique District said in the email that the designs will be “artsy and cool so that it feels like a design element and not like you are in a hospital.”

Like Xtend Barre, Salon deZEn said they will do nightly deep cleaning. The salon will also continue to offer zoom classes on trimming bangs and cleaning up necklines.

Hazel Salon at 108 N. Washington Street is also preparing to reopen for appointments with no walk-ins. Clients will be asked to arrive alone for their appointment time and bring minimal personal belongings.

“The waiting room is closed and guests have been asked not to arrive before their appointment time to allow our staff time to sanitize in between guests,” Hazel Salon said in the email. “There will be a 1:1 stylist to guest ratio and we are asking guests to book their appointments with credit in order to maintain touchless transactions.”

Chiropractor service Back to Health Center at 1414 Prince Street said the store has been partially opened but has ceased additional massage and acupuncture service.

“During this time, they have recognized what they were doing, even as a medical office, was just not enough for the post-COVID consumer,” the Boutique District said. “They have ordered sneeze guards at the desk, wearing PPE, and staggered appointments to prevent waiting room congestion. They are extensively cleaning and recently purchased a dry fogging machine that uses a plant-based disinfectant with trialed kill claims for COVID. They have extensively revamped sanitization procedures to provide patients with greater assurance our environment is clean.”

Staff photo by James Cullum