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5 Black hairstylists describe how COVID-19 is impacting their businesses

Hairstylist Candace Witherspoon (Photo provided)

As the number of people with the COVID-19 virus continues to rise, it has led to massive layoffs and overwhelming uncertainty for many Americans.

Among the most impacted groups are small business owners and entrepreneurs, including hairstylists. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that people practice social distancing, many local and state governments have called for quarantines to slow the spread of the virus.

Unlike many who can work remotely, for most hairstylists, this is impossible. Some have been forced to lower the number of clients they see daily while practicing heightened sanitation protocols, and others have been placed on a complete quarantine.

We’ve reached out to several hairstylists across the United States to see how COVID-19 is impacting them.

Veteran hairstylist Patrice Hector at Atlanta’s Ken Bailey Hair Studio said she and other stylists have cautiously amended their appointments.

“We’re going day by day. We are following all of the rules that the CDC and our mayor have advised us to do,” Hector explained. “We have not been demanded to close the salon. So, until that happens, we’re changing our schedules, and not seeing as many clients.”

In the wake of potential closures, stylist and salon owner Jessica Reese of the Pynk Butterfly Salon in Columbia, South Carolina, said she understands the stresses on both sides.

“From a stylist perspective, if I were a booth renter in a salon, I’d be worried specifically about my income and my finances for my family. But from a salon owner standpoint, I’m also worried about the salon itself, the overhead, rent, utilities, etc.,” she said.

Houston hairstylist Dwain Thomas said he has amped up his sanitation process to ensure the safety of clients and himself during this time.

“I only do one-on-one appointments with my clients to maintain a safe and clean environment,” Thomas added. “I’ve been spraying Lysol on everything: chairs, capes, armrests, doorknobs and restroom light switches after every client.”

Meanwhile, other states have already seen salons shut down and stylists forced to stop working.

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