By ROBERT ADAMS
Many close contact businesses in South Carolina reopened on May 18, following Governor Henry McMaster’s orders — businesses such as hair salons, gyms, spas, nail salons, tattoo parlors, waxing salons and massage parlors. With the close quarters required in such businesses, it is important to know what precautions are being taken for customers’ safety and what the people in charge of these businesses have on their minds.
Two local barbers — Franklin Williams of Pit Stop Barbershop and Kell Singleton of Southern Styles — helped answer the questions such as what are their plans for management? Do they think it is a good idea to reopen?
This pandemic has affected all of us in many ways, Williams said. He “enjoyed the time off to start, but now I am bored — a feeling that I am sure can be shared by most in these times. A common theme I found is that this pandemic has helped people not take things for granted as well.”
Reopening became a yes-and-no situation: the danger of this virus versus bills that need to be paid. Both Williams and Singleton said that precaution should be everyone’s number one priority. “It’s up to the person and their situation,” he said.
The thing both barbers missed the most while being closed was interacting with their customers and their conversations in the shop.
Moving forward, the Pit Stop Barbershop is now making appointments for haircuts, but only one customer will be allowed in the shop at one time to make it as safe as possible for the customers and the barber.
Sanitation is also a big part of both barbershops’ plans to move forward: disposable capes, gloves and hand sanitizer are all expenses Williams said that he will be obtaining to make sure his shop is safe for him, as well as others.
Both will be following the S.C. guidelines with disciplined hand washing practices, as well as using sanitizer and disinfecting the chairs after each client as major keys in reopening on Monday. Prices on haircuts will also have to go up to help cover these safety precautions.
Neither Williams nor Singleton has ever seen a pandemic like this in their careers as barbers.
It might be strange or scary now, but if all come together as a community, then the situation can be handled. Singleton put it best saying, “It feels like we are in a movie.”
Even if it is a movie, the community gets to tell how it ends.