Hairdressers reopen on Monday. A hairdresser was still cutting, until the law shut him down | Covid-19 coverage
Officially, Kevin Armstrong’s North Myrtle Beach hair salon was closed, but the haircuts had not stopped.
Until Tuesday, that is.
“So sure, someone called, made a big stench,” Armstrong said. “Maybe I didn’t cut my hair fast enough or something.”
SC Governor Henry McMaster’s March 31 executive order shut down a handful of ‘non-essential’ businesses that the state says could be breeding grounds for the novel coronavirus, the source of the highly contagious COVID-19 pandemic and potentially deadly that has shut down most of South Carolina’s economy and spiked unemployment claims.
This closure included hair salons and barber shops, which will be allowed to reopen on Monday. But with his business officially closed, Armstrong filed for unemployment.
“We have really killed this economy; we closed it, ”he said. “People like me, sole owners, people who work for themselves as bartenders, waiters, waitresses, that’s the beach. These people are suffering. “
The West Virginia barber got his start on the Grand Strand about four years ago, working at the Ocean Drive Barbershop in North Myrtle, before opening his own restaurant a few months ago in Crescent Beach.
The shutdown didn’t stop him from cutting hair for his regulars, which include first responders, bartenders and nurses, most of whom wear their hair “up and tight” and frequently come for a haircut.
“I told them I don’t charge them, but if you want to give me something, that’s fine,” Armstrong said. “And it worked.”
But on Monday night, he got more than he wanted in exchange for the haircuts. North Myrtle Beach Police pulled over and gave Armstrong a warning.
City spokesman Pat Dowling said officers showed up in response to a complaint and found the business closed, but Armstrong admitted to having people in his store. Officers gave him a warning instead of a citation because he had never reported a violation.
Armstrong said officers told him his business license could be withdrawn if he cut his hair again in violation of the order.
“I’m not going to give them the opportunity to do this to me, because I have too many people who depend on me to cut their hair, and I rely on me to cut my hair for a living,” he said. Armstrong said.
Governor Henry McMaster announced Monday that a wide range of businesses shut down for CO …
But Dowling that a subsequent violation would not prompt the city to take its business license.
“He wouldn’t lose his business license,” Dowling said.
As soon as the barber showed up at his store Tuesday morning, so did North Myrtle Beach Police, who parked their vehicles across the street. After a brief discussion, Armstrong told them he would not be giving out more cuts until he was legally allowed to reopen.
The warning left North Myrtle Beach Rescue Team Leader Chris Price without a plate he had planned for Tuesday.
“If I’m working with a patient in the back of an ambulance and can’t cover my mouth because he’s short of breath and he’s coughing, the last thing I want is hair that doesn’t. are not cared for, which are not maintained. droplets, ”Price said after showing up at the store. “As an infection control official, I just wonder how they can ask us to wear masks, ask us to take all of these other precautions, but not encouraging good hairstyle is a failure.”
The virus can be spread through the air by people who cough or sneeze. This poses a problem because it is difficult to determine where these infected droplets might end up.
One of those places is in your hair.
“You’re going to protect your eyes, you’re going to protect your face and the next thing you know is in your hair,” Price said. “You take off your mask, run your hand through your hair and now you’ve spread it over your fingers.”
Armstrong takes some precautions while cutting his hair. It is filled with disinfectant bottles and wipes and cleans regularly.
People who came for cuts would usually wait in their vehicles until it was their turn, to make sure the store didn’t have more than three people inside at a time.
One of those clients was North Carolina State Senator Todd Johnson, who represents the 35th District of North Carolina near Charlotte. He owns The Cigar Shop in North Myrtle Beach.
On April 15, two weeks after the shutdown, he came in for a cut. It was his first visit to the store and he needed a cleaning.
“I just needed a haircut and someone told me this was the place to go,” Johnson said. “For me, I stay short because of my gray hair. I don’t look so gray when I run it.
Johnson said he knew the virus was a serious threat, but said the media had helped fuel “hysteria” surrounding the pandemic. He advocated good hygiene as a way to slow the spread.
“What we’ve seen through a lot of that, there’s a push to tell people to wash their hands,” Johnson added. “There is pressure to tell people not to put themselves in front of people. There is pressure to tell people to “be careful when you grab the handfuls of gas.” This is what we should already be doing anyway, whether you are in the middle of a pandemic or just in the middle of life.
Not everyone who donates to Armstrong has had their hair cut. The barber said several of his regulars sent him the amount of money they would normally spend at the store to make sure their hangout is still open when the restrictions are lifted.
“They went ahead and still paid me like they had come here and had their hair cut, just to help me,” he said. “He was just a killer. People doing stuff like that, with nothing in return, that’s what it’s all about, man.
Next Monday Armstrong and all other hairdressers in South Carolina will be allowed to reopen.
This includes Shaun Swinson, who has owned the Maestro Hair Symphony in Atlantic Beach for five years. Tuesday, he was preparing the shop for the customers.
He underwent surgery on his right arm on March 26 and would not have been able to work during the first days of the shutdown anyway.
“It worked a bit in my favor, because I just had surgery, so I’ve been out of work since the start of the year,” Swinson said. “I’m not complaining. Financially, it’s been a struggle.
Swinson, a 35-year-old barber and 25-year business owner, said he would regularly clean and disinfect his equipment, limit the number of customers inside, ask everyone to wear a mask and check the temperature of all who enter.
But he gets a lot of business from tourists and worries that infected people from northern states are bringing the virus to the region. “I really want to protect my other clients from them,” he said.
And if he hopes for the best, no one knows how long the virus will exist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of Americans could be exposed to COVID-19 in the next two years.
“Life has really changed right now,” he said. “It can be for the rest of our lives.”