Is it Safe to Get a Haircut During the Pandemic?

Original illustration by FSSA senior art major Coralis Rivera.

As much as the world wants to believe that the worst has passed, the coronavirus is very much still an issue and poses a threat to thousands of businesses. Businesses in New York City and New Jersey are used to lots of activity, however now that everyone has to be cautious simple tasks such as cutting hair have been labeled as risky. In an attempt to keep salons and barber shops open, owners have been doing everything possible to try and ensure their customers safety, but is it enough? 

High School student Josh Toribio has gotten his hair cut at Extreme Cuts Barber Shop in Ozone Park ever since he was a little. He explained how getting hair cuts on the regular were considered something  normal before the coronavirus, but now it’s more like an amenity.

“The last time I got a haircut was three weeks ago…I think, and the barber shop was really good at making sure everyone was safe,” Josh said. “Everyone wore masks and were socially distanced too. Before the pandemic the barber shop was like a hangout place where everyone could just relax, now it’s not like that. The crowd that used to be there is now gone and people only go for a cut not to hang around.” 

Josh added how all of the extra furniture like the sofas to sit on while you waited were gone. Removing extra furniture was a change that was done for the safety of others and has contributed to making the environment safer. 

In Corona, Queens, one of the most heavily watched outbreak hotspots in the city, many people still go about with their regular lives as if there weren’t a dangerous pandemic. Most people outside aren’t wearing their masks, but businesses are doing their part making sure to strictly enforce precautionary measures.

Elementary school teacher Rosemary Guzman got her hair cut for the first time in Corona since the beginning of quarantine at Highlights Unisex Nail and Spa Corporation.

“I felt very safe because as soon as I walked through the door they were sure to take my temperature and disinfect my shoes and hands with antibacterial spray. I believe they did everything they could to make me feel safe,” she said.

Disinfecting people’s shoes as they come through the door is a very smart preventative measure because bacteria from outside could easily be trapped on the bottom of customers shoes. The salon was well aware of what they needed to do and followed all of the protocols and regulations set by the government. 

The New Jersey hair cutting scene looks very similar to that of New York.  In both states customers are socially distanced and everyone’s wearing a mask. Even though 10 year old Nicholas Fallon is young he still noticed some things his barbershop could have done better.

“I mostly felt safe, but I think people could have been spread out a little bit more. I also think that they could have washed the covers that they put on top of you so the hair doesn’t fall. A lot of people touch that and it could have a lot of germs,” Nicholas said. 

New York and New Jersey were initially put into lockdown in late March of 2020.  It wasn’t until later on in June, nearly two months later, that businesses were given the opportunity to make up for lost time. The fear within citizens made people feel hesitant toward going to public places, which has taken a huge toll on these businesses.

Now that people have grown slightly more comfortable being in public places more people are going out and cutting their hair or getting a shape up. The conditions inside of the buildings determine whether or not people will want to go in which is why the precautions taken inside of a business is crucial.

— by Emily Pacheco ’21