Coronavirus- BuzzFeed News Report

Hairstylists And Barbers Are Grappling With Whether To Stop Cutting Hair During The Coronavirus Outbreak
“We can’t practice social distancing when we do hair. It just isn’t possible.”

Stephanie K. Baer
Stephanie K. Baer
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Updated on March 19, 2020, at 11:06 p.m. ET

Courtesy Joanne Marsden
Joanne Marsden

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Joanne Marsden knew Tuesday would be her last day of work for a while.

Even though local health officials hadn’t mandated any restrictions on hair salons, that nagging feeling that Marsden needed to do more to protect herself and her clients — and help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus — had grown to outweigh her concerns about being able to financially support her family.

“We can’t practice social distancing when we do hair,” Marsden, a hairstylist in Irvine, California, told BuzzFeed News. “It just isn’t possible.”

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As officials across the US order restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms, and other businesses to stifle the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, hairstylists and barbers in many cases are having to decide for themselves whether to continue operating their businesses. For those that close, it’s a decision that will cut off their only source of income for what could be weeks or months to come.


“Our industry in general has felt a little bit left out because we aren’t getting mandates from government — state or federal officials,” said April Markley, 39, a hairstylist in Denver. “We haven’t been given specific instructions to close, but, I mean, from what everyone’s understanding, our workplace and environment [are], like, prime spreadable areas.”

Hairstylists and salon owners who spoke to BuzzFeed News described how difficult it has been for them and others in the industry to decide whether to stay open. Some are choosing to continue operating until their state or county health officer force them to close — and doing what they can to maintain a clean workplace. Others have chosen to shut down now out of concern that they could be contributing to the spread of the disease.

Courtesy of Russell Cordeiro

“As [a] hairstylist/barber, you only make money if you’re working,” said Russell Cordeiro, a hairstylist and barber at Art + Autonomy SoHo Salon in New York City. “There is no such thing as sick days. There is no such thing as vacation days.”

Cordeiro said that initially his salon was waiting for the government to mandate they close — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not specifically ordered hair or nail establishments to cease operations. But on Monday, the owners and stylists collectively decided to close the shop on a week-to-week basis.


“The idea was … let’s squeeze in as much as we can before they made an announcement, but I feel like the moral aspect came into play before that,” he said.

As of Thursday, more than 11,000 people in the US have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 100 people have died. Experts believe the number of people infected is likely much higher due to a lack of sufficient testing.

To help stymie the spread of the disease, local, state, and federal officials are urging people to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others outside of their household and working from home if possible.

Still, some salon owners are continuing to cut and style clients’ hair because of financial concerns or out of the belief that closing isn’t necessary to protect public health until their local government orders it.

“People are still going to the grocery store. You can’t disinfect everything that’s there. They’re still allowing restaurants to service the public only through delivery and takeout. It still can be spread,” said hairstylist Selima Peterson, who owns a salon in New Haven, Connecticut.

Peterson said if her county health department orders her to close, she will. Until then, she is continuing to see clients, spacing out their appointments so they don’t overlap, and disinfecting all equipment and physical spaces after each visit.

“Rain, sleet, snow — we are out working,” she said. “This virus is not going to stop me, and if my clients need me, I’m going to be there.”


After Peterson spoke with BuzzFeed News Thursday morning, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order mandating that hair salons, tattoo parlors, and other cosmetic businesses in the state cease operations. Peterson said she would abide by the order.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, health officials took the drastic step Monday of ordering all residents to shelter in place for at least three weeks and mandating the closure of all nonessential businesses — including beauty salons.

It was that order that forced Caroline Kan to close her business, House of Colours, in San Jose on Monday, though she said she probably would have shut down anyway.

“Eventually I probably would have because the numbers are just freaking skyrocketing,” Kan, 29, told BuzzFeed News.

In the meantime, Kan said, she has some money saved to help her get by for a little while, and her landlord gave her an extension to pay the salon’s April rent. But she isn’t sure how long she’ll be able to keep her business afloat if she’s unable to work for a longer period of time.

Like several other stylists who spoke with BuzzFeed News, Kan is an independent contractor and isn’t currently eligible for unemployment benefits.

“Financially, I mean, I’m definitely going to get a really big hit,” she said.

Courtesy of April Markley


Markley, who is also an independent contractor, said she has been negotiating with the owner of the salon where she rents a chair about cutting her payment in half for the next month after she decided to stop seeing clients for at least three weeks. But if it gets to a point where she has to choose between her apartment and her workspace, she’ll probably have to give up her spot at the salon altogether.

“I think we’re all sort of in that place right now,” Markley said.

Even for those stylists who are salon employees and do qualify for unemployment, getting assistance hasn’t been easy.

“I tried about four times today to apply,” Cordeiro said Wednesday, referring to New York state’s unemployment benefits program. “The website keeps crashing on me.”

Cordeiro, whose partner works at the same salon, said he thinks they will be OK without any income for a few months. But, he added, it’s hard to say what exactly lays ahead.

“Of course we’re going to have to start living a bit more frugally, but, like I said, I don’t think it’s completely really set in or that full realization of the impact that this is really going to have on our lives and, I think, everyone’s lives,” he said. “This is going to add up.”

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Covid-19 Beauty Industry Economic Hardship

  1.  Kristin Snyder started this petition to U.S. Senate and 2 others(PLEASE BE ADVISED: a monetary “donation” after signing this petition goes directly to CHANGE.ORG but does not in any direct way benefit those who I am trying to help)

Federal Aid Package for Cosmetology/Barber/Body Work Industry

Across the country, the need for social distancing has impacted many industries. One industry in particular stands at high risk for both economic catastrophe AND infection, and that is the community of beauty/body services workers- estheticians, cosmetologists, nail technicians, barbers, massage therapists, body workers, tanning salon owners, etc.

Many licensed beauty/body service workers are self-employed, and rely on clients’ appointment fees to pay both business and personal bills. Our families are facing a long list of economic catastrophes: losing our homes, retirements, extreme debt/bankruptcy, inability to provide food for our children and/or pay for much needed health insurance. Cancellations, rescheduled appointments, and loss of child care during this novel coronavirus outbreak {COVID-19} are cause of grave concern to all who work in the beauty business as incomes plummet. Fear, anger and dread are being felt by all as our families begin to understand the monumental cost to help save our nation from the spread of the virus.

There is already no paid time off/sick leave for self-employment, so many are forced to choose between potential bankruptcy or struggling to remain open, which puts the community as a whole at risk for infection. The very nature of our industry is close contact, often in small studio spaces, where despite using our above-average knowledge of sanitation practices, we are exposed to airborne transmission with every possible cough or sneeze from our clientele. Any beauty worker infected with COVID-19 has the ability to transmit the infection quickly to his or her full book of clients on every given day, even before symptoms arise.

The need for an Economic Hardship package is immediate and should include the following;

-Emergency Medicaid Health insurance for those who are uninsured

-$100 billion in government-backed, low interest loans, to help support the the self-employment income that is disappearing


-Equal relief/aid funding of self-employed beauty/ body service workers, as we are not covered under the current proposed relief bills being voted on at the Federal level

We the undersigned plead with our elected officials to hear our warnings and cries for help as we not only see our own economic plight but also the sacrifice of our livelihoods as we struggle to keep our communities healthy.


Kristin Snyder, Salon Owner and Licensed Cosmetologist- Michigan

Mass Barber Regulations


News New Cosmetology & Barbering Regulations Effective June 1, 2019


  • Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering


New regulations for the Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering (“Board”) went into effect on June 1, 2019.  They include significant changes to the Board’s licensing rules and processes. All fees will remain the same for the time being.

An official set of the new regulations is available here:

The following is an overview of the new regulatory changes:

Elimination of Two-Tier Licensing:

  • Two-tier Cosmetology licensing is eliminated. Type-2 Operator licenses have all of the same permissions as a Type-1 Cosmetologist license. Both licenses are referred to as a Cosmetologist license. Type-1 upgrade applications are no longer being accepted.
  • Two-tier Aesthetics licensing is eliminated. Type-7 Aesthetician licenses have all of the same permissions as a Type-6 Aesthetician license.  Both licenses are referred to as an Aesthetician license. Type-6 upgrade applications are no longer being accepted.
  • Two-tier Barber licensing is eliminated.  Apprentice Barber licenses have all of the same permissions as a Master Barber license. Both licenses are referred to as a Barber license. Master Barber applications are no longer being accepted.
  • Supervisory requirements are no longer in effect. Any individual with a valid Cosmetology, Aesthetics, or Barber license can work unsupervised in an appropriately licensed shop.

Discontinuation of Booth Shop and Booth Renter Licenses:

  • Booth Renter and Booth Shop licenses have been eliminated. Salon owners do not need a Booth Renter license to rent chairs to individual licensees. Licensed workers do not need a Booth Shop license to rent a chair.
  • Salons only need to obtain a Type-1 Cosmetology full-service salon license, Type-3 Manicuring salon license and/or a Type-5 Aesthetics salon license, depending on the services being offered. The salon application can be found here:

Out of State Cosmetology, Aesthetics and Manicuring Applications:

600 Hour Aesthetics Programs:

  • On June 1, 2019, the minimum clock hour requirement for Aesthetics programs increased from 300 to 600 hours. Students enrolled in 300 hour programs prior to June 1st can complete their programs and take the licensing examination.  Any student enrolling in an Aesthetics program on or after June 1st must enroll in a 600 hour program.

License Display Rules for Shops:

  • As of June 1, 2019, all licensees working in a shop will have to display their personal Cosmetology, Aesthetics, Manicuring or Barber license in a location in the shop that is visible to the consumer. A copy of the license can be displayed if the licensee has their original license with them in the shop.

Out of Country Cosmetology, Aesthetics and Manicuring Applications:

  • Cosmetology, Aesthetics, or Manicuring license applicants who received their training in other countries may show proof of two years’ work experience to take the licensing examination, and they must pass the written and practical exam. 

Out of Country Barber Applications:

  • Out of Country Barber applicants will now be required to pass both the written and practical exam. Written exams will be offered in both English and Spanish.

OFFERED BYBoard of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering

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