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Barbers And Beauty Salons Fret Over Lockdown Survival

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

Bahamian barber shops and beauty salons say they are trying to determine how they will pay the bills and survive after being placed on COVID-19 lockdown until month's end.

Adam Russell, Stylistic Barbers' owner, told Tribune Business: "Right now I'm still trying to figure out how we're going to be able to deal with our bills and things that come due at the end of the month. How will we be able to purchase stuff for ourselves if we are on the lockdown for so long? For a period of time it's OK; for a week or two that may be cool, but what happens after that?

"Bills have to be paid. The end of the month is coming. We have rent, and you have your water and whatever the case may be. Right now, as you can see, no one is in here. People aren't in here right now. It's a real scare panic for everyone."

Mr Russell said Stylistic Barbers had been taking every coronavirus precaution it can, including "washing our hands after every cut. We're keeping our face masks and everything on, and we're just trying to do whatever we can do to just prevent people from contracting the virus and for us contracting it at the same time," he added.

Disclosing that he has two other barbers on duty including himself, Mr Russell continued: "We will keep on all of our barbers, and we have three altogether. For as long as we keep open we will keep our barbers on duty, but I am not sure how long we will be open for?

"I heard Dr Minnis saying yesterday that they were going to put a lockdown on the place today at 9am, and only certain businesses were going to be open. So I don't even know what's going to happen for us after today. So we're only playing with the time in dealing with what Dr Minnis said anyway."

Raven Roberts, the Mink Bar Studio's chief executive, added: "My initial reaction to the emergency shutdown wasn't really shocking, because I know that a lot of people already died from the virus and other countries were preparing for a shut down as well. I understand that these drastic measures had to be in place to protect the Bahamian people.

"Subsequently, my reaction right after that was: How will we be able to pay our rent? I am a shop owner and a lash technician, full-time, and I have to close. I make about $300 on a regular day and about $800 on a good day. Therefore I won't have an income.

"I know that it is very important to save, which is why I always practice saving, so I do have something to hold me in order to survive. But I don't know where this leaves my business in the future."

Philip Auguste, owner of 4 Aces Barber Shop, said: "The prime minister shut us down so I shut down. I have two barbers working with me now. We are just closed until further notice. We are probably losing $1,000 to $1,200 between the three of us. I just hope they can get this thing under control so we can get our life back together."

A representative from Star Born Hair and Nail Salon added: "Everybody is feeling the effects and we just have to go with the flow. We are closed now and we are only here cleaning up."

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