DETROIT - One worker looked more like a scientist than a barber.
"This is surgical today," he said.
You couldn't see the smile behind DeAngelo Smith's face mask, but you could see it in his eyes.
"Man this is so freeing," he said.
And the man in the hair at the service of Smith's scissors and razor? Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey who got the earliest appointment he could.
"This is a day of liberation," he said.
As hair was falling, hopes were rising in Executive Cuts & More Monday morning. It's the first day back for the barbers and salon workers in Michigan, whose industry was among the last major sects of the state's economy to reopen their doors to customers - many of who haven't had their hair cut in months.
"My wife and my children didn't recognize who I was, haven't been here since early March so this is the first appointment I could make at 7 a.m. and I look good," Spivey said. "And I want to stay this way."
"It just gets you back in your normal zone and what you love to do. You know how you have a passion for doing something, this is what I have a passion for doing and it's great to be back doing it," Smith said.
Smith's headspace might be in his "normal zone," but the space around his head looked anything but normal. He's wearing a face shield and a face mask - two pieces of personal protective equipment that have become standard for employees coming back to work. Michigan has dimmed the COVID-19 spread to a crawl, decreasing its rate of infection to a fraction of what it was during its peak in early April.
On Sunday, three more people died 189 new cases of COVID-19 were reported. Encouraging results for a state that was reporting almost 2,000 cases and 200 deaths a day at one point.
While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer only indicated an explicit time that barbers and salon workers only weeks ago, businesses have been pleading for a return to work for almost a month. In late May, dozens coalesced into an organized coalition with a list of proposed changes and safety measures. Many looked similar to what other places of work like restaurants and department stores have mandated.
Lots of PPE, constant sanitizing, limited capacity of patrons, and as little personal contact as possible.
Beyond the mom and pop shops that dot the Metro Detroit landscape, larger chains have also urged maximum social distancing rules. Great Clips is encouraging people in need of a trim to use their app and arrive at the salon as closely to your scheduled time as possible.
In addition to hair salons and barbershops, massage and tattoo parlors are also returning to work on Monday.