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Photos by Dean Moses

For five decades, Lois Christie and the Christie & Co. Salon has been an award-winning salon in Bayside and a leader in the beauty industry. Now, Christie is facing the biggest challenge of her career. 

The forced closing of her salon due to the coronavirus has turned her into an advocate for salons and barbershops, and she is calling on the community for help. 

“I’ve created a call to action because we have supported the community for decades from little leagues, to hospitals, to nonprofit organizations, and now we need them to support us,” said Christie, president and owner of Christie & Co. Salon.

Christie is encouraging community members to write to Governor Cuomo, asking him to allow salons and barbershops to reopen everywhere. Salons have been allowed to reopen in Nassau County under Cuomo’s guidelines, but they remain closed in Queens, which sits just four miles away from the Nassau border.

“Does the virus know the difference between Nassau and Queens,” Christie asked. “We’ve been ready to meet CDC requirements, but the changing dates and delays are challenging all small business owners. It’s our survival that’s at stake.”

Ahead of the reopening, Christie is creating a salon of the future after undergoing a transformation to comply with the new social distancing guidelines and prevent the spread of the virus. 

“We now have acrylic dividers between the 14 sinks and ultraviolet wands to clean and disinfect the counters and chairs,” said Christie. “We also have disposable capes, paper gowns, face shields, and touch points of hand sanitizers throughout the salon.” 

Additionally, Christie hired an organic CDC certified disinfecting company that has cleaned the salon and its air vents, which will be an ongoing part of the maintenance of the salon.

To meet the demands of working in a virtual environment, she is offering clients makeover and color consultations via Zoom. Due to the new guidelines, appointments will be necessary. 

The challenge now, Christie said, is figuring out how to schedule staff members and clients, in order to reduce the number of people that enter the salon.

Her 60 staff members are anxious to get back to work and upon reopening, they will receive new uniforms and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

“With common sense approach, we’re certainly ready and practicing defensive measures for the safety of our clients and staff,” Christie said. “For example, when you walk in, we will take your temperature and you must wear a mask. If you don’t have one, we will provide you with a mask and it must be on at all times.” 

While Christie and her staff are embracing the new guidelines, she said she has always taken pride in providing the “highest degree of sanitation and hygiene,” even before the pandemic. 

“Nobody has the playbook for what’s happening in the industry right now. However, when you start to look at the basics — our license and training as professional cosmetologists, estheticians and nail techs — we train in sanitation and hygiene,” she said. “That’s our team’s basic qualifications.” 

After establishing Christie & Co. Salon 50 years ago, Christie — who served as the first female president of Intercoiffure America/Canada, the most prestigious beauty organization worldwide — is preparing her business to be a model for what salons should look like in the future.

Christie is fiercely fighting for her clients and her staff and is asking the community to write to the governor to allow salons and barbershops to reopen. 

“We are waiting like horses in the gate, ready to run. Let us out of the gate, Governor Cuomo,” Christie said. We are ready and compliant.”

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