Despite coronavirus concerns, barbershops keep on cutting

News4Jax reporter Erik Avanier visits a local barbershop to see how it is navigating the new world

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With so many businesses closing as a result of coronavirus fears, many barbershops are still open.

The CDC recommends people practice safe distance from each other to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but barbers don’t have that option because they must be close to their clients when cutting hair.

Barbers are in a difficult position.

On one hand, they know just about anyone walking through the door for a haircut could be infected. On the other hand, barbers must make money to support their families.

It had been a little more than a week since I had my last haircut, so I walked into Jose Colon’s barbershop for a quick trim and to hear his concerns about the new coronavirus. It was the first time he’s ever used gloves while cutting my hair.

“I noticed you’re wearing gloves now. Is that because of the fear of coronavirus?” I asked.

“Yes sir," Colon said.

Cleaning and disinfectant products are in plain view. Another barber sprays down the door handle after I sat down.

Colon said it’s almost impossible to follow CDC recommendations and keep a safe distance.

Yet another reason why he now wears gloves and says he’s not opposed to wearing a mask is the possibility of an elderly customer walking through the door.

Colon said a customer in his mid-70s called Monday to set up an appointment, then called back to cancel the appointment after speaking to his doctor.

Colon said he worries about his own health, but at the same time, he worries about paying the bills and supporting his family.

“If I don’t work, I don’t get paid, so I got to work hard,” he said.

I asked Colon: How do you deal with a customer who is sneezing or coughing, even if they’re covering their mouth?

“If that happens, I might have to tell them to come back another day," he said. "We want to be safe. We don’t want anyone to get sick.”

Colon said his wife also worries.

“She’s worried about my health and the health of the family,” he said.

Minutes later, my hair was trimmed. I paid for the service and no sooner than I used my finger to sign the digital receipt on this cell phone touchscreen, Colon was sanitizing the phone.

Colon said even though he’s still getting customers walking through the door, business has slowed down as a result of coronavirus fears.

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