Is it a Good Idea for Personal Care Businesses to Reopen?

Taken By Sherry Sah Keeman Brown cutting Matt Hopkins hair

A nurse at Hartford Conn. -Crystal Ansong discusses how serious COVID-19 is and why businesses should not be open.

By Sherry Sah

Despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun issuing new guidelines for personal care businesses to reopen while still containing the virus.

Health workers have agreed that businesses should be closed, and the state at home order needs to be implemented for a more extended period. Crystal Ansong, a nurse at Hartford Hospital Conn. is concerned for businesses to reopen.
“Since this virus is so new and there isn’t enough research on to exactly secured the virus, I believe that businesses should be closed,” said Ansong.

According to the CDC, over a million people in the United States have died from the virus, and the numbers are still increasing. Some of the symptoms for COVID are fevers, loss of smell and taste, diarrhea, dry cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, Chest pain or pressure, body aches, loss of speech of movement, conjunctivitis, and even worse death. People who have the COVID might not also show symptoms but could be passing the contagious virus around without knowing.

Source: World Health Organization. There have been 4,523,888 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 152,630 deaths.

 

“When businesses are reopening, they are increasing the risk of people who can contract the disease, especially if you have diabetes or Hypotension. It should be in your best interest to stay home,” states Ansong.

Personal workers, such as nail technicians, barbers, and hairstylists, need physical contact to make a living. Millions of people have applied to unemployment benefits but feel as though that money is not enough.

“I understand that people want to make money, but they have to understand that it is not safe during this time,” said Ansong.

Businesses in Connecticut reopened on June 1, 2020, with new guidelines that they all have to follow. Even though companies across the world are opening, they are potentially putting their employees at risk and their families.

“Following new guidelines can protect you from the virus, but we still do not fully know what can cause it,” said Ansong.

For some business owners in the personal care industry, COVID-19 caught them by surprise. Business owners are trying to make an income, despite COVID- 19 conditions and putting their families at risk. Keeman Brown, who owns a barbershop in Hartford, Conn. called C Unisex Barbershop, didn’t think he would be closing his shop for three months in March. That day, as he finished cutting hair for his last client, he swept the floors, sprayed Windex on a white cloth and started wiping the windows of his shop. When he completed his task, he turned off the lights and turned the “WE ARE ClOSED” sign before exiting the barbershop. And he didn’t return until June 1, 2020.

Store Closed.  A Sign of a business closing because of COVID.  Photo by Sherry Sah

“I would have never pictured this in a million years that my shop will ever be closed for three months,” said Brown.

For C Unisex Barbershop to reopen, the barbershop is mandated to follow all new guidelines and protocols. Employees are confused and do not even know whether it is a good idea to go back to work.

“When reopening my business, I did not want to go back to work. I thought to myself, is going back to work even a safe idea? I already have a mother with underlying issues, and I did not want to give her anything,” said Brown.

Brown needed to make a decision that might affect his household, but he needed the money to support his family, and he had bills that he needed to pay. Even though there are new guidelines that are set in place which are: Employees and employers must complete the self-certification on the DECD website to receive a Reopen CT badge. Everyone needs to get their temperature check before arriving at the shop. There needs to be sanitation of equipment before and after a client. Clients and employees must wear a mask at all times. Barbers need to change their aprons after every client. Everyone working at the station needs to be 6ft away from each other. There needs to be one client per chair, and there are no more walk-ins.

“Each time I put someone in my chair, I say a prayer in my head. I said it because I am so big in my faith, and I want God’s protection to cover me. You see, I do not know where my client has been or who they have interacted with, and I do not want anything to happen to my family or me,” said Brown.

People should feel safe when being in their working environment or doing their daily activities, such as receiving a haircut. But COVID-19 has people anxious because they do not want to contract the contagious virus. According to The American Psychiatry Association, more than half of people in the United States are afraid to recruit the COVID-19.

Not only barbers, but clients have expressed the way they feel when getting their haircuts.
Matt Hopkins, a C Unisex Barbershop client, has voiced out his concerns when receiving his haircut.

“I lost a whole bunch of family members due to COVID, and I recently lost my grandmother. So, when I heard that the barbershop was reopening, I was nervous. I did not want to go at all, but I thought that I could not live in fear for the rest of my life. The virus is here,” said Hopkins.

Appointments have but C Unisex Barbershop employees and some of their customers at ease.

“I feel safer and comfortable because I am not around so many people when I am getting my haircuts,” said Hopkins. “But this has eliminated the whole barbershop culture because you can not just sit in and talk with friends about sports, politics, and women. But this social distancing is keeping everyone safe.”

According to Hartford Courant, it is reported that Connecticut is one of the 11 states with a lower number of cases.

“Even though Connecticut has one of the lower cases, I am still mindful and still get a little anxiety about going to certain places for personal care. My main question is, how exactly do you get this disease? I understand that it is contagious, but where did this disease come from?” said Hopkins.

Business owners and clients do not know when things will get back to normal. People are risking their lives to go into an abnormal routine. This pandemic has taken a toll on the world, and people are doing what they can to live with it. Should businesses be open will be every business owner’s decision while putting themselves, employees, and everyone who surrounds them at risk. There are ways to protect themselves from the virus, but how fully affected are they. People are nervous, even with lower cases, states when being in a personal care setting.

About Sherry Sah 4 Articles
My name is Sherry Sah. I graduate with my Bachelors at Eastern Connecticut State University. I am a recent graduate student at Emerson College studying journalism. My motivation is to share light on communities and bring it to the public.