Coronavirus

Can your hairdresser give you in-home service in a COVID-19 crisis?

When Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered a mass shutdown of “non essential” services across the county — and included hair salons and barbershops among the temporarily shuttered businesses — the memes went wilder than your hair’s going to look whenever the COVID-19 crisis ebbs.

“Barber not an essential business???”

The move to close hair and nail salons is happening around the country. At the moment, most have a sense of humor over the situation. One person on Twitter said after all of this social distancing we are all going to go back to work looking like the mid-1980s cast of “Saturday Night Live” when this is all over.

The cast, as some might recall, had shaggy hair.

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Is in-home styling safe? Legal?

Some stylists in South Florida have resorted to making in-home calls for some of their customers. That raises the questions of: Is it safe?

Social-distancing is not possible when your business demands you run your hands through people’s hair. And is it legal in Florida?

“I don’t know the legality. This is a special circumstance and none of us know what we are doing now,” longtime hair dresser Michael Curran said with a laugh as he prepared to dart out to the home of one of two customers who had booked him on Saturday.

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To make Curran feel better, the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation statutes says that cosmetology services must be performed only by licensed cosmetologists in licensed salons, but it allows for exceptions in nursing homes, hospitals or residences. These except can include when a client is ill or can’t make it to a licensed salon. Or is in show business. Or for educational purposes. And the appointments should be booked through the licensed salon.

Curran runs Bonaparte Hair Designers for Men & Women in South Miami, one of the businesses that temporarily shut its doors on Friday after the mayor’s order.

“I go to people’s houses when they are sick sometimes,” he said. “I’ve done this before — especially after Hurricane Andrew. When we don’t have electricity I’ve gone to people’s houses who had generators and cut their hair. The whole industry has done this for a long time.”

Safety measures during coronavirus

As for the safety issue, hairstylist Paulette Lopez, who rents space at Bonarparte, is also making house calls for some “emergency-only cases” she said. “I have hair [customers] that may be desperate.”

Lopez is playing it as safe as possible when she ventures into a client’s house.

“I believe masks and gloves are a must if they are at your disposal,” she said. “Cleaning before and after, all surfaces as well, with a bleach based disinfectant,” she said.

Curran agrees.

“I don’t have a mask but I wipe down everything. We have all this spray alcohol stuff — we do that all the time anyway. It’s just about the same as in everything: keep washing your hands, keep on keeping on. It’s pretty much the same but 10 times as much as before.

Everyone has stepped it up a notch it seems in my little world.”

What if there’s a lockdown?

If safety measures should call for a complete lockdown if the coronavirus pandemic escalates in South Florida and the state or local officials make such a call, “I would comply if they told me I shouldn’t do this,” Curran said.

“I hope we look back on this with a smile.”

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