As COVID-19 restrictions ease, customers flock to hair salons, restaurant patios

Hair salons and barbershops were allowed to reopen on June 1 under eased restrictions for COVID-19. (FOX 9)

June 1 marked the day many restaurants and hair salons in Minnesota have been waiting for since closures due to COVID-19 went into effect more than two months ago. 

Under the big top at Hilltop in Edina, Harvey Berg's appetite for eating out is finally being fed.

"Fantastic, said Berg. “Been a long time. It’s very welcome."

For the first time since late March, the restaurant can seat customers again, but only outdoors and at the most 50 people at a time. The owners put up a tent in the parking lot to accommodate a little more than half that number with the rest dining in a four-season patio, where tables were spaced out more than six feet apart in both areas.

"We really didn't know what to expect,” said Brett Johnson, the Hilltop owner. “We have a ton on the books tonight. So we're all booked up for tonight. We didn't know what to expect with the curfews going on, but today was pretty good."

Around town, there's also a buzz in the air with salons and barbershops able to open their doors for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began. 

“So happy to be back at work. So happy,” said Victoria Sickler, a stylist. “I never thought I would be saying that I missed work, but I did and I'm really happy to be back."

Many saw lines and waits up to three hours long, but customers seem happy their bad hair days caused by the pandemic are over.

"My older son has been very protective of me during this whole thing,” said Mary Schlender, who got a haircut. “He's gotten all my groceries, all my Walgreens, the whole thing, but when I heard the salons were open on the 1st, I said, ‘Wayne, can I go get a haircut on the 1st?’ He said no. I called him this morning and said, ‘Honey I'm going to disobey you because this is just too important.’"

In the meantime, Berg says it’s time for customers to step up to the plate to help their favorite restaurants survive these troubling times.

"The reality - we have to go on living,” he said. “I'm not scared and I'm not fearful. I'm not going to jump on an airplane tomorrow, but other than that I'm very comfortable being out."