Local barbershops and salons suffering due to COVID-19 crisis

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Times are uncertain and difficult for many in central Ohio, but barbers and hairstylists say they are not sure if they can rebound from this situation. 

The money they had is running low, and the money they’ve requested hasn’t hit the bank yet.

“We got the call on one day and they were like ‘You got to shut down in like six hours,” said Karen Hill, the owner of Synergi Salon. 

The fallout from barbershops and salons closing for more than a month is still being felt. 

“That was hard because that’s everybody’s livelihood, and we as leaders, I’m about to start crying, we always have answers for them,” said Hill. 

Now, barbershops and salons sit empty and silent and those who worked there are struggling to provide for their families. 

“We have 17 barbers between two shops and I don’t think I have a feel good story for any of them,” said Dave Carty of Longview Barbershop. 

Byron Woods is the owner of Oohs and Ahs Hair Design and he fears the worst for his business. 

“The idea is that we do save for a rainy day, but not a day like this,” said Woods. “After 30 years of business, I’m really thinking about letting it all go.”

A spokesperson with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says these workers, who are considered individual contractors, are now eligible for money under a new federal unemployment program. 

A pre-registration online tool will launch at the end of this week so people in this situation can register for benefits, but Woods feels it may be a little too late. 

“Bill collectors didn’t pause, only the workers did,” said Woods. 

He believes there is hope for him and all of his employees if the state allows shops to reopen. Woods says his training emphasizes hand washing, sanitizing stations and equipment and working at a distance from other employees.

“I believe we can serve our community well,” said Woods. “I believe we can keep them safe.” 

He and other barbers and stylists say they can arrange appointments to keep too many people from gathering inside and added the workers will wear a mask and gloves while they do their jobs. 

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