Jeremy Davis, BuzzersBlog
Barbershops and Salons across the US faced uncertainty during the early months of 2020. A nationwide lockdown was put in place to control the outbreak of COVID-19, which devastated multiple metropolitan areas. Small business owners grew increasingly concerned as their weekly traffic came to a halt and they were forced to temporarily close shop. Owners found themselves on the outside looking in of businesses that were deemed to be essential. Lobbying efforts in Washington attempted to define what would qualify as an essential business, but due to the nature of grooming services (close proximity), shops and salons were forced to remain closed during the lockdown.
On April 15th, USA Today released an article on the struggles barbershops and salons faced. In this article, shop owner Robert Koske explained how he had to piece together loans and dig into his own savings just to make ends meet. Small business owners applied for Covid-19 related grants and additional loans, but not everyone was approved. For those who were approved, many did not receive the necessary amount needed to keep their business afloat.
Once the shutdowns were lifted and states gradually began to re-open. Shops were still feeling the effects of the pandemic because customers were not as willing to sit in a barber chair and have up-close contact with their stylist. I remember going back the first time after a couple months of experimenting on my own hair. My concerns were the same as most people. Do I wear a mask while receiving a haircut? Does my barber wear a mask? What are the safety protocols?
Something I used to do every week suddenly became a challenging decision to where I would either scruff it out for another week, or just take my chances of possibly getting exposed. For the most part, shops across the nation have been extremely vigilant regarding the safety measures they take. I can say this for sure, barbers and stylist who are in the trenches every day, do not receive enough credit. We all have jobs and a lot of us work for businesses that are classified as essential, but A simple haircut can make the difference on how a person feels. It can also work wonders for a person’s confidence level.
Social media allows me to see the efforts and additional steps stylists are taking in order to reassure their customers that protocol is being followed. I have been thoroughly impressed from what I have seen, and to be honest, I now regularly go to the barbershop as I did pre-pandemic. We normally run pieces on a specific shop for our “Shop of the Week” series, but this time around we want to give a special thank you to all the hair stylists and barbers who are keeping everyone fresh during these times.