Have you been daydreaming about calling up your favorite beautician and booking your first hair appointment in months? If so, you are not the only one. However, according to some hairstylists, the thought of inviting clients back into the salon is terrifying.
“I see my clients on Instagram having parties and not wearing masks. They’ll be the first to try to come back and possibly expose us,” Latinx hairstylist Alejandro Santoy told Zora.
Citywide shutdowns due the coronavirus left many hairstylists out of work—particularly those serving in the Black and Hispanic communities. Now with many cities getting the green light to reopen, some hair professionals are concerned that there are not enough guidelines to keep salons safe.
“Unemployment [benefits] ending before the crisis is over and salons reopening in stages — it’s a trap that makes it so whether you want to go back to work or not isn’t up to you anymore,” Kiara Bailey, a hairstylist and business mentor who created the website Covid-19 Salon Reopening Guidelines, shared with the publication. “The typical profit margin is 4%, so the numbers you have to be doing are pretty high. This situation highlights the lack of security in our industry.”
She continued, “So many people have been financially devastated in a matter of weeks. And my biggest fear is a relapse in infections. We can sanitize, we have been trained for thousands of hours, but people can refuse to put on a mask, people can have no consideration.”
With personal experience in the beauty industry, many hairstylists feel as though Kiara’s website has better guidelines than the ones provided by the government thus far.
Still, many Black/Latinx business owners are worried that spikes in COVID-19 cases will only lead to closing their doors once again.
According to Politico, a poll released by Global Strategy Group revealed that 45% of Black and Latinx small business owners anticipate closing within six months. Sadly, just 12% of them received the full federal assistance they requested.
There is also the concern that many clients are crossing state lines just to get their beauty treatments.
“I’m giving it 14 days to see the landscape of the cases,” South Carolina salon owner Jessica Reese shared with Zora. “People I know personally have done the three-hour drive from Columbia to Atlanta to get their nails done since the city was reopened.”
Carrie Henning-Smith, Ph.D., MPH, MSW, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health also worries that travelers will spread the virus.
“When tourists flock to reopened areas, it’s a concern nationwide,” she shared in a May 5 teleconference for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “People come and spread COVID, overwhelming health care systems, and all the other resources in those places. Black residents had the highest mortality rates in the country even before Covid-19, and they face a higher risk for all reasons — they’re more likely to work in low-wage jobs, less likely to have reliable access to health care, and more likely to have underlying health conditions.”
FYI: This post was not to scare you from making your beauty appointments, but rather highlight the concerns of your beauty professional and hopefully encourage you to carefully follow their rules wisely for their sake—and yours too!