Barbers, Stylists Still Cutting Behind Closed Doors

The stay-at-home order has forced barbershops and salons to close their doors, but some are ignoring it so they can keep their business alive

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Barbershops and salons, like many restaurants, are openly defying the stay-at-home order and staying open, and some are making an effort to keep their illegal operation clandestine.

The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are obvious when you walk down any row of storefronts. Signs on shuttered businesses have come down and curtains are drawn.

If you see what looks like a shuttered barbershop or salon, there might actually be stylists behind the curtains or paper window coverings working on clients.

A stylist at one such salon in Escondido was washing a client's hair behind closed doors. She said she works with only regular customers, no new ones, and even recommended a barber a few doors down.

On the outside, that barbershop said it was closed, but inside, behind the locked door, a barber was cutting hair. She said the man in her chair was her brother-in-law.

"There is nothing else you can do but keep working,” said a barber at a different shop who identified himself as Joshua.

Joshua had a customer in his chair and three more waiting. All were socially distanced and wearing masks.

"The masks work right. The masks do help prevent spreading the disease,” Joshua said.

Joshua’s shop didn’t look quite like the other two. He said he refused his boss’ request to keep the shades drawn because he can't risk a potential client thinking the shop was closed.

"This customer, he likes coming to me. If I am closed, he's going to find someone else and when we open back up he's gone,” Joshua explained.

Joshua said the barbershop closed, for a time, back in March. He said the shop owner applied for small business assistance but was denied.

The county and cities are certainly keeping their eyes out for businesses like Joshua’s barbershop.

The Escondido Police Department said it’s taking an education first approach, but said citations and fines may follow if businesses continue to defy health orders.

"Our approach has been to educate and work with businesses to help them to continue to operate without violating the health orders. Businesses that refuse to comply with the health orders are subject to citations, which may result in fines,” a statement from EPD said.

Joshua knows the risk he runs for his barbershop by taking customers, but it seems he’s taken everything into account.

"Yes [he will close if the city or county comes by]. By all means, yes. But until then? I am going to keep doing what I have to do for my family,” he said.

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