Self-haircuts and “quarantine bangs” are now a thing of the past as local barbershops and hair salons opened their doors on Wednesday. This came as Western New York entered Phase Two of New York’s plan to gradually reopen.
While barbershops and hair salons are able to reopen, the guidance comes with strict limitations to protect staff and customers.
The businesses will be restricted to hair services only, so if you’re looking for a straight shave or a facial, you will have to wait a while longer. There are also strict requirements for barbers and stylists to keep six feet of distance between their customers, both standing and in chairs, and to have only 50% capacity.
The New York State Department of Health is also providing face shields to barbers and stylists who would like them.
Hair workers must be tested for COVID-19 every 14 days, according to state guidelines. Testing was not required for the shops to open.
"You don’t have to get a test to open up," said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said in a Monday briefing. "However, when you are open, then New York State is recommending that people do get a test every two weeks.”
While barbershops and salons may be allowed to open, one barber said he cannot give his clients the same quality of service with all of the limitations in place, so he is staying closed.
“The whole thing of a barbershop is get a good haircut and feel good,” said Matt Scherrer, who owns Gentlemen’s Prestige Barbershop on Abbott Road in Buffalo.
Scherrer said that cannot happen with the state’s limitations in place. For him, opening up is all or nothing.
“These new requirements and restrictions makes it uncomfortable,” he said.
Scherrer had a message for all of his clients who are eagerly awaiting his reopening.
“Be patient," he said. "This too shall pass.”