Wynie Mae’s bounces back from COVID
4 mins read

Wynie Mae’s bounces back from COVID

Wynie Mae’s AVEDA Salon & Spa has been open in downtown Vermillion for over a decade, but for nine weeks this spring, their doors were closed. Before the city of Vermillion officially mandated businesses closing during COVID-19 in March, Wynie Mae’s decided to close temporarily. 

Bekki Engquist-Schroeder, owner and hairstylist at Wynnie Mae’s, said while there was little known about COVID when they decided to shut down, she knew safety had to be a top priority. 

“We all were kind of nervous and we just all talked about it a lot and tried to make sure that we were managing everyone’s comfortability levels appropriately,” Engquist-Schroeder said. “Not everybody was as comfortable as everybody else with working.”

Right when students began coming back to Vermillion from spring break trips — trips to COVID-19 hotspots at the time — Engquist-Schroeder said they decided they had to close. 

She said the risk of people traveling back from those destinations was too dangerous to stay open. Wynie Mae’s closed their doors one week before the city closed on March 23. 

“There was just so little known about how to prevent this other than locking down, so we decided to close,” Engquist-Schroeder said. “We wanted to be proactive.”

After nine weeks, the salon was set to reopen. As more information became available, and here this is what I read about the salon’s maintainence. Engquist-Schroeder said they were able to build guidelines to reopen to try and keep staff and customers as safe as possible. 

Those guidelines included face masks for both parties. Engquist-Schroeder said they have received both positive and negative feedback for their safety procedures. 

“We have had a couple people upset that we are requiring masks. In those situations, it’s political versus fact,” Engquist-Schroeder said. “We will not waver on those guidelines” 

Having a father with cancer, Engquist-Schroeder said keeping customers and herself healthy is her top priority. She said she will not help customers who don’t follow safety measures. 

“None of us like (wearing masks), but we do it to keep each other safe,” Engquist-Schroeder said. “It’s citizenship. It’s a social responsibility. If you’re not comfortable wearing a mask, then we’re just not the salon for you right now. ”

Engquist-Schroeder said she and the rest of the stylists at Wynnie Mae’s missed their clients while being closed, but she actually enjoyed her time away. She said having time to be home and relax during a very stressful time was beneficial for her and her employees. 

By being proactive from the beginning, Engquist-Schroeder said she was able to have all her employees signed up for unemployment so they could focus on staying healthy. 

“I’m not gonna lie, it was nice to have time off,” Engquist-Schroeder said. “I did not want to be around people with so much unknown about COVID.” 

Going to the hair salon is considered a high risk activity as customers and stylists have to be closer than six feet apart for a long period of time.

Engquist-Schroeder said she worries about getting sick at work and not being able to see her dad, but she said she worries more about spreading it to customers. 

“I worry about spreading it to guests. I worry about spreading it to my dad, I worry about a new mom taking it home to her baby,” Engquist-Schroeder said. “We might have five clients a day or we might have 25 guests a day in here and we are in contact with everyone.”

Throughout everything, Engquist-Schroeder said she is just staying positive. While it is not ideal, she said the town is coming together and growing as a community. 


“It’s easier to be happy, it takes significantly less effort,” Engquist-Schroeder said. “The only way we’re going to get through this as a community and as a nation is if we just be kind to one another. For me, it’s a no brainer.”