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Barbers, beauticians back in business

Barbers, beauticians back in business

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Crittenden County hairstylists re-open their doors (with COVID-19 restrictions in place)

By JOHN RECH

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Many barbers and beauticians reopened as soon as Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson gave a conditional say so after lifting Coronavirus shutdown orders. Hair cutters have been scissoring away with high demand created by the layoff under new guidelines issued by the state’s chief executive.

Clients must wait six feet away from each other with a maximum ten people in the shop. Shop owners were instructed to keep others waiting outside or in their vehicle until appointment time. Appointment intervals had to include a thorough station cleaning time. The government said no to walkin appointments, and barbers

See BARBERS, page A3

Amber Dunn smiled big cutting hair at Larry’s Super Cuts in West Memphis. Governor Asa Hutchinson gave hairstylists permission to reopen May 6. Barbers and Beauticians around West Memphis reported the initial rush had tapered off.

Photo by John Rech BARBERS

From page A1

or beauticians were required to keep a contact list of customers receiving services. Larger shops were limited to 30 percent capacity. The governor also urged those among the COVID-19 vulnerable population to consider staying home.

Some customers parked in front of their beauty shop, windows rolled up, engine and air conditioner running, obeying the sign on the door to await a call before entering. Others lined up in chairs outside as the social distancing in the shop became too tight.

Shaggy customers seemed happy to have professional haircuts. Other were happy to have a pro straighten out the do it at home haircut. A live television news feed broadcasted from Larry’s Super Cuts in West Memphis on the re-opening morning. The first customer showed up at 5:30 A.M. and, as is the habit of the 75 -year-old owner Larry Dunn, stayed open until customers stopped coming that evening. It made for a long day.

“I’m guessing daddy (Larry Dunn) did 35 haircuts our first day back,” said Amber Dunn.

“Some of the wives must have been really upset with their husband during social isolation,” joked Amber Dunn. “I’ve had to straighten out a few home made haircuts.”

Appointments stacked up for three solid weeks for some.

“I am booked until May 26,” said Sheila White of The Last Tangle in Marion.

Closed doors didn’t mean no work. Whole house sanitizing became a priority. More than Barbicide and sweeping, finding effective personal protective equipment (PPE) became a challenge.

“Before I opened I had been busy with cleaning and sanitation, which has been a concern with me since day one,” said White. “Hairdressers understand the concept of disease control. After all we touch people and we are in your personal space all day. It has not been easy finding the right PPE and wearing a mask all day has been a task.

The state gave hair dressers a three day notice moving from lock-down to opening shop under new guidelines.

“We had to make sure the shop has enough hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, it’s really been challenging,” said White.

Community health concerns remained for barbers and beauticians as active COIVD-19 cases started to drop.

“I think everyone should have a concern for me as as I do for them,” said White. “Overall I want to be safe, because it’s out there.”

Waiting in line – social-distancing style. It’s not Floyd’s in Mayberry it’s Jerry’s Barbershop in West Memphis. This customer patiently waits his turn outside to get rid of his quarantine growth.

Larry and Amber Dunn struck a pose during a brief reprieve at Larry’s Super Cuts. The shop made the live morning television news cycle on May 6 with the first cut at 5:30 a.m. after the governor ended the lock down on hair cutters, tattoo artists and spas. Larry was the first West Memphian cited by city police for a COVID-19 related health violation. The 75 year old Dunn said he followed the governor’s directives and was open only to sell hair care products and had not cut hair. The matter goes to district court in June.

Photos by John Rech

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