Barbers and hairstylists gathered in East Cleveland Monday to ask Gov. Mike DeWine to include them in the initial phases of reopening Ohio.
The rally at World Famous Superfly Barbershop focused on what shops can do to keep clients and employees safe when they reopen: disinfecting chairs after each service, barring walk-ins and screening appointment-only incoming customers for virus symptoms.
“We want him to know that we’re serious about deep-sanitizing our shops for our valuable customers,” said World Famous Superfly owner Art McCoy.
Barbers at the rally will sign a pledge to operate under the proposed guidelines, McCoy said, and a list of proposed measures was also sent to DeWine’s office.
Barbershops and salons need to reopen soon, McCoy said, or many could face financial difficulties and run the risk of not reopening at all.
“They’re so eager to get back to work because, to many of them, it’s their only livelihood and sometimes barbers’ financing isn’t as stable as it should be,” McCoy said.
Customers also need to get back to their barbers and salons for routine maintenance and upkeep, McCoy said.
“It’s about more than just cutting and grooming. It’s about making sure that the customer has a healthy, clean scalp,” he said.
Those services are essential, said Donna Brown with Black on Black Crime Inc. Brown is a Republican candidate for District 21 of the State Central Committee, and organized the Monday rally to address concerns about hair health during the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are losing their hair, some people are depressed,” she said. “I really believe that they are an essential business.”
Those attending the rally hope to get barbershops and salons on the list for the first or second phase of Ohio businesses reopening, Brown said.
“These beauticians and barbers cannot go another four weeks without servicing someone,” Brown said. “They’ll be completely out of business.”
The state is still developing plans for how to reopen the state’s economy. Plans DeWine said last week were under development are expected to be ready for execution May 1.