Pockets are hurting due to the COVID-19 shutdown, especially barbers, but they are finding a way to make money even if that means risking their lives.
When shit hit the fan, all non-essential businesses were told to shutter, and that included personal services workers such as barbers, manicurists, and hairstylists. A Gothamist report highlighted the lengths some barbers are going to keep money coming in to support their families during these trying times.
There is no way to properly social distance while cutting someone’s hair. But some barbers do feel to make ends meet, providing illegal haircuts is the only way to go, even if that means possibly catching COVID-19 or being slapped with a fine. One barber the Gothamist spoke to went as far as to cut hair secretly in his Central New Jersey shop in the dark despite the local law authority posting up in front of his barbershop.
Per The Gothamist:
In a Central New Jersey shopping plaza, D. is cutting the hair of a longtime client. His voice, muffled as he makes small talk behind his face mask, and the low buzz of the clippers in his gloved hands, are the only sounds in the air.
The shop is dark, and the television, which is usually blaring, is off because what the barber is doing is illegal, and he doesn’t want to attract the attention of local police. When he finishes, D.—who, like others in this story, did not want to be identified by his full name for fear of fines or jail time —sprays the chair with Lysol and wipes it down.
“I’ve actually had police officers sitting out in front of the shop at times when I’ve been inside,” said the former Marine, who refined his barbering skills on military bases across Europe and the Middle East before opening his own shop more than a decade ago.
A Manhattan barber named Marcus revealed he only makes house calls to clients to support his wife and toddler, but one particular session gave him a huge scare.
“I kept my mask on the whole time. I cut his hair in the bathroom. It was pretty close contact, but I had my gloves on everything that I needed to protect myself at the time, and I gave him a fade, and I left.”
About a week later, Marcos learned on Instagram that the client had COVID-19.
He still continues to risk it all and has even raised his prices to make up for the money he lost due to the coronavirus shutdown.
Retired NFL Star Victor Cruz revealed last month that his barber still comes by his crib to give him cuts stating:”
“I do have my barber come over every other week to cut my hair because I’m on the laptop doing Zoom calls and emails, so I have to make sure I look proper.”
William, a hairstylist and makeup artist Gothamist spoke to for its story, echoed the same sentiments while detailing he installs weaves in basement apartment because he claims his work is essential. He also believes due to the fact people are still working they need to look good during their zoom meetings
These are doctors and lawyers, people who are making deals. They don’t want to be gray on camera. People still want to be beautiful.”
While Florida is allowing barbershops in parts of the state to open, New York and New Jersey are not even considering easing that restriction no time soon. Both states list barbershops as “phase two businesses,” and both NY, NJ have just begun phase one re-openings.
It could be a while till NYC and NJ see barbershops, nail salons, and salons open, so expect more barbers, hairstylists, and nail techs to continue working in secret.
Photo: Corey Jenkins / Getty