Hairstylists Are Saying Social Distancing Is Crushing Their Industry
Many industries are dealing with seismic changes in the wake of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, pandemic. With states beginning to slowly reopen for the summer season, many businesses have to develop new strategies and procedures under the new reality and to continue to protect both workers and customers from spreading the infection.
The hair industry is among those severely impacted by the public health crisis and stringent social distancing procedures. According to a report done by Business Insider, many businesses including hair salons have been forced to add surcharges to their fees to maintain overhead costs because many establishments have had to cut their customer capacity by half. In addition to extra supplies for sanitation reasons, it’s become the only way they can keep costs done.
“The cost of reopening includes all the extra supplies that we need and all the cleaning supplies that we need,” Rachel Gower, owner of Houston-based Upper Hand Salon, said to local news station KTRK. The salon is adding a $3 “sanitation charge” to guests’ checks.
While many hair salon owners are adjusting to the new reality brought by the public health crisis, they have also had to find creative new ways to stay afloat as hairstylists count as freelancers who often are not eligible for unemployment benefits and rely heavily on customer tips.
“It’s been a financial adjustment, what I receive in unemployment for a week, I can make in a day or two,” D.C.-based hairstylist, Cierra Curenton, told ABC News. “I’m single, so I have no one to help carry the financial burden.”
This has led others in the industry to extend a helping hand to stylists who have been severely impacted by the viral outbreak. Diishan Imira, CEO of Mayvenn Hair Extensions, decided to offer those in need help by starting a GoFundMe campaign to help hairstylists struggling with their expenses amid the public health crisis.
“It feels good to be able to do something when helplessness consumes our world right now,” Imira told ABC News. “Black salons and barbers are the backbone for black entrepreneurship and an integral part of our communities.”