ANDOVER — A sign at Salon Forza warns "No mask no service." There are protective dividers in between service stations and hand sanitizers throughout the salon.
Cutting and styling tools are repeatedly immersed in hospital-grade disinfectants and the restroom is cleaned every 15 to 20 minutes, said Jennifer Traverso-Crow, salon owner.
This week, just days after giving birth to her third baby boy by Caesarean section, Traverso-Crow welcomed questions and a photographer to the Essex Street salon after a complaint about Salon Forza was filed over an alleged lack of coronavirus precautions.
"It's is a testament we are taking this seriously," said Traverso-Crow, who has owned Salon Forza for the past eight years, as she ticked off a list of COVID-19 prevention efforts underway at the salon.
A representative from Attorney General Maura Healey's office contacted Traverso-Crow over the anonymous complaint, which alleged the salon was working over-capacity, not enough time was allowed for proper sanitization between clients and employees were being threatened with termination, she said.
The complaint was filed a day after a former stylist quit, Traverso-Crow said.
"I filled her in on everything we were doing in great detail," said Traverso-Crow of her conversation with Healey's representative. "And she said to me: 'It sounds like you guys are going above and beyond.'"
She said service areas are sanitized between every client. Every other chair in the salon is currently being used to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Booking is done online only and payments are made by phone. Employees wear masks and gloves are changed between clients, she said.
Also, the salon is seeing nearly 75% fewer clients than they would at full capacity. From March 2019 to July 2019, Salon Forza serviced 4,193 guests. However, this year, from March to July, the salon has had 1,966 guests, she said.
Records provided by Healey's office indicate a complaint was filed about Salon Forza on May 28 at 3:18 p.m. regarding "cleaning/disinfection," "retaliation" and "social distancing."
Healey's office did not respond to questions about the Salon Forza complaint specifically. However, in a statement, said the office's Fair Labor Division has been responding to the complaints, emails and hotline calls by:
— Helping customers and consumers understand their rights.
— Reaching out to employers about complaints and making sure they are aware of state protocols.
— Making accurate and appropriate referrals to other local, state and federal agencies when necessary.
Traverso-Crow said she invited the Attorney General's office to visit the salon and inspect the precautionary measures being taken but was told that was not necessary.
Due to the complaint, Traverso-Crow said she was later asked many of the same questions by the Andover Board of Health.
She said never faced any sanctions due to the complaint, which was recently re-ignited by an online report that offered little context. She employs 15 stylists who she repeatedly refers to as "my girls." She and another stylist were both pregnant as COVID-19 infections emerged, she noted.
"The salon was my first baby. It was the biggest thing I did before I had kids," said Traverso-Crow. "My girls, our guests ... They are our family."
"I don't want people feeling like they are taking a risk coming to the salon," she stressed.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.