Most of us are looking pretty scruffy right about now since most hairdressers and barbers have shut down amid efforts to contain the coronavirus. But one barber has decided to ignore city rules demanding social distancing by giving haircuts along a Brooklyn street.
Now that residents are more than a month into a full shut down of the city, many people are running out of patience, hoping the city will open back up so that life can resume.
A short clip shows an unidentified barber taking clients on Ocean Parkway between Brighton Beach and Ocean View avenues while wearing a mask and gloves, The New York Post reported.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo indefinitely shut down all hair care establishments on March 21.
“Effective March 21, 2020, at 8 p.m. and until further notice, all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors and related personal care services will be closed to members of the public. This shall also include nail technicians, cosmetologists and estheticians, and the provision of electrolysis, laser hair removal services, as these services cannot be provided while maintaining social distance,” Cuomo wrote in an executive order.
This is not the first time a barber has disobeyed city rules by giving out haircuts. On April 19, cops busted up a huge party being held at a barbershop, Spectrum News reported. More than 50 people were inside eNVee Barbershop when the event was shut down by police.
“What you expect? People are stuck inside their house on Saturday night. They want to go out and they can’t. It’s stressful,” one neighborhood resident told The New York Post.
Thousands of barbers across the country are struggling to stay afloat as shutdowns continue. Although some states like Texas and Georgia have allowed barbershops to reopen, most states are not allowing hair care enterprises to open their doors, forcing barbers to make tough decisions.
Multiple barbers told CNN Business that they were making house calls, despite the danger of the virus. But Black barbers face a tough choice. While businesses in cities like Atlanta have decided to reopen, others are fearful about potentially spreading a virus that has been particularly deadly in the Black community.
“These barbers, they’re risking their lives, but they’re doing fine. You going to die from infection or you going to die from starvation?” said Dennis Mitchell, the 54-year-old owner of Denny Moe’s Superstar Barbershop in Harlem, New York.
Mitchell went on to explain that he, like many Black barbershop owners, cannot apply for a loan from the federal government because all of his employees are technically independent contractors, meaning he does not have enough employees to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program loan.
"It's kind of bone-chilling. I have an apartment I have to pay for as well and people who depend on me to put food on the table. … A lot of [Black business owners] are not going to come back from this," Mitchell told CNN Business.