A growing number of barbers, stylists and other personal care professionals are seeing clients in secret as the coronavirus pandemic continues. With stay-at-home orders still in place in many states, some stylists will invite clients to their homes or else take their equipment to a client's house to do their work off the books. Others are reportedly hosting illicit appointments within the shops themselves.
While many Americans are itching to get back to their regular grooming routines, the stylists are dying to get back to work as well. Some states have allowed salons to re-open under certain circumstances, but they are still closed all throughout California, where according to a report by TMZ, the state is seeing more and more stylists meeting with clients in secret. The arrangement is described as a modern-day speakeasy, with clients sneaking into barbershops that appear to be closed and getting their hair cut in secret.
Health experts say that contact like this carries a serious risk of spreading COVID-19, and for many people the risk is not worth the haircut. Still, some stylists are left with little choice, as this prolonged shut-down has left them with no income.
Still, in addition to risking their health and the health of whoever they come into contact with, these stylists may be risking their careers. The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has reportedly issued a warning to all licensed stylists saying that there will be disciplinary action against any caught breaking the state's orders. That could include losing their license altogether.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has commented on hair salons and barber shops several times, since they are one of the biggest ammenities missing during the coronavirus. The governor has expressed his hope that these businesses can re-open soon, but some critics say the criteria for their re-opening keeps getting changed.
At the time of this writing, the United States has 99,948 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, with some experts estimating the true death toll may be as much as 30,000 people greater. Unlike California, some states have allowed certain public spaces and businesses to re-open, but these moves have often been criticized by public health officials. After many Americans stepped out in public for Memorial Day weekend, experts warned CNN that a commensurate spike in cases was likely. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.