Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday June 6, 2020
Toronto hairstylist launches petition, calls for Ontario to reopen salons, barber shops
April 25, 2020
A long-time Toronto hairstylist has launched an online petition calling on the Ontario government to reopen hair salons and barber shops, months after closing amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Norm Wright, who has spent most of his three-decade career at Taz Hair Co. in the Yorkville neighbourhood, opened a petition on Change.org this week to voice his frustration about remaining shut down.
As of Thursday night, it had nearly 10,000 signatures.
Ontario is the last remaining province without an announced opening date for the industry, Wright said. With new health and safety measures already in place at his salon and others in the hair industry, he insists they are ready to reopen now, “We are taking steps that businesses that have been allowed to be open have not [taken] and we don’t feel that we are being taken seriously,” he said.
“If these family-owned businesses aren’t being taken seriously for much longer, they’re going to close.”
Donna Dolphy, who owns a salon in Toronto, told Global News she is worried that if shops like hers remain closed much longer, customers will turn to the underground market.
Life in a Pandemic
“Where are they going to go? Nobody wants to look like a sheep dog for very long,” she said.
“They’re going to want to have service done. And if this continues we may not have clients come back in our chair.”
New measures at many barber shops and hair salons include taking clients’ temperature at the door, fewer work stations, no blow-drying and removing items like magazines, Wright explained.
“If this continues on the velocity it’s continuing on while other businesses that aren’t taking the same precautions are allowed to reopen, hair and beauty in Ontario will be decimated,” he said. (Global News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday April 25, 2020
Georgia Hairdessers Weigh the Order to Reopen During a Pandemic
On Monday, within hours of Governor Brian Kemp’s announcement that many Georgia businesses could reopen on Friday, Maureen, a sixty-nine-year-old retired schoolteacher, texted her hairdresser, who owns a salon in Atlanta, about an hour from Maureen’s home, in Athens. “The Gov says you can open! 🙂 My appointment is on Friday of this week. What’s your plan?” Maureen, who voted for Kemp, made the appointment eight weeks earlier, before the coronavirus pandemichad shut down much of the country, and she was hoping to keep it. Her hairdresser, a man in his early sixties who asked that I not use his name, did not vote for Kemp. He told her that he would not be reopening until the following Monday—and only in a limited way. Maureen could try one of his other hairdressers, he said, but he wouldn’t be seeing clients himself until May 12th at the earliest. And, the hairdresser told me a few days later, if “Kemp’s science project goes as expected”—by which he meant badly—“then I have no idea when.”
July 23, 2009
Nearly a thousand people in Georgia have died, so far, of complications from the coronavirus, according to the numbers that have been reported. (The actual number may be higher.) Like the Central Georgia health board and many others in the state and around the country, the hairdresser did not think it was time to shift pandemic protocols in order to reopen businesses, even with precautions like masks, gloves, and disinfectant. “I thought it was the most asinine decision any governor could have ever made,” he said, “given the science we’re presented with, what Fauci and the other guys are saying.” The hairdresser checks the daily case counts regularly, he said. “Atlanta has been spiking up and down,” he noted. “I think yesterday we had maybe twelve hundred new cases. Today, maybe seven hundred or so—but it’s not midnight yet, I don’t know.” There are more than twenty thousand confirmed cases in the state. He went on, “It’s pretty damn silly, insisting on a haircut right now. But, you have to understand, my clientele is very privileged. To them, this is a very big sacrifice, to go without a haircut. I’ve had people offer me money to come to their houses—what’s the difference that’s gonna make? I don’t know. It’s a very entitled world.”
September 11, 2007
The hairdresser’s employees are contractors, who rent booths from him at the salon. Shortly after the announcement, he sent them the Georgia State Board of Cosmetologists and Barbers’ guidelines on reopening, which he called “the craziest thing—social distancing while giving a haircut is hard.” The board recommends that barbers wear a face shield and gloves, as a start. “You need to be in a smock, too,” the salon owner went on, “and change your smock after every haircut, into another clean, sanitized smock. The client is in sanitized cape and smock and neck wrap. Then you have to sanitize your whole station and chair.” Taking each client’s temperature and having them answer a health questionnaire is also recommended. “If I were getting paid the salary of a surgeon,” the hairdresser said, “it might be worth all the scrubbing.”
Some of the contractors are willing to take risks to pay their bills. “We could wait,” the owner said, referring to reopening. “But I feel like these hairdressers chomping at the bit—if they’re willing to do it and really take it seriously, and I’m there to monitor it—I can’t say no to them. But,” he added, “I’m kind of a wimp.”
Life in a Pandemic
One of these contractors, Brittany, who’s thirty-five, has been at the salon for four years. “If Home Depot can be open and people can shop because they’re bored and want to buy houseplants, and Target can be open for people to buy yoga pants,” she told me, “I don’t see the harm in me—carefully and safely—doing a client.” Brittany said that she is a Republican but did not vote for Kemp. She charges around two hundred dollars per session. “Twelve hundred doesn’t even pay half my booth rent,” she said, referring to the stimulus check she received from the federal government. (The salon owner did not charge booth rent while the store was closed.) “So you don’t want to be unsafe, but you also don’t want to lose clients or income. It’s a rock and a hard place, you know?” (The New Yorker)