Salons see business surge ahead of statewide shutdown Saturday

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – If you have been putting off getting a haircut, you are running out of time to get in to see your stylist before all salons in the state close Saturday night to help stop spread of COVID-19.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday morning that all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail salons, hair removal services, and related personal care services will be closed to members of the public effective Saturday, March 21 at 8PM, as these services cannot be provided while maintaining social distance.

Stylists across the state were squeezing in last minute appointments Friday ahead of the closures.

“I desperately needed a haircut. It’s been a couple months. And saw the news come down this morning and wanted to get in here as soon as possible,” said Brad Balicki, a Tonawanda resident who was one of the first clients in the door at Great Clips in North Buffalo Friday.

Balicki was in good company there.

Great Clips stylists were taking clients back to back to back Friday morning, with more reservations coming in by the minute.

The stylists say they have been taking precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including washing and sanitizing their hands frequently and using fresh capes on all clients.

But, hair stylists are in a profession where social distancing isn’t possible.

“I’m not seeing my mom for a while,” noted Great Clips stylist Dunya Smith, “because every time she gets sick it’s all in her lungs.”

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” said stylist Danielle Matthews. “All this hasn’t hit me so I’m just taking each day as it comes.”

Come Saturday night, though, these stylists will be out of work and without an income, and it’s anyone’s guess how long that will last.

That’s a situation that clients getting their hair cut Friday morning seemed to recognize.

“They tipped me higher than usual,” Smith said, “and they appreciated me very well.”

“I really appreciate their effort and their time and hopefully this isn’t a long term shut down and this can be resolved quickly so everyone can get back to work and keep their livelihood,” Balicki told News 4.

When the stylists do go back to work, they say they expect another busy day taking care of clients who will just have to let their hair grow out while the closures are in effect.

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