By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
WITH hair salons and barber shops closed, one local businessman said the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a huge blow to his income and he is desperate to reopen.
Besieged with calls from clients wanting to get their hair done, Trevor Johnson, general manager of Johnson and Johnson Barber and Beauty Salon, is just waiting on the green light from the government to resume services.
“Income-wise this is a very big blow,” Mr Johnson said. “This week will be seven weeks since we have been closed and this has us spending money that we don’t have. We have kids, we have bills with no income, how can we stay on top of these things? You have clients hitting you up every day, because they really need our services. We can’t provide the service, obviously, because of the shutdown.”
He added: “I am just lost for words as none of us have ever experienced anything like this. It’s a great negative impact and we can only hope and pray that our sector is considered soon for reopening. And, most importantly, that we survive this.”
Hair care and nail services are in phase four of the government’s plan for re-opening the economy. The country is currently in phase 1b.
Mr Johnson, who manages the 52-year-old business started by his late father, Eleazer “The Sailing Barber” Johnson, said while at home and unable to make a living, he made a curious observation.
He noted many members of Parliament appear well-groomed with freshly cut hair when making television appearances.
“They are taking bread out of our mouths, but yet they are so nicely cut and groomed,” he continued. “We as barbers and hairdressers, we look at things like that. They have our sector shut down, so who is grooming them?”
Asked how he would manage his customers when his business is allowed to open, he said things will certainly be different.
“When we get the green light to open, we don’t know what the rules will be, but for us the first thing will be to switch to appointments only,” he said. “Barbers and beauticians are well familiar with sterilising and sanitising, so that part is a breeze for us to upkeep. That’s within us. We can practice measures that can keep customers and ourselves safe and still be able to conduct business.”
A frequent customer of Johnson and Johnson’s Barber and Beauty Salon said she is anxious for the shop’s doors to open so she can “look good” again.
“It’s been a long time since Bahamians had the luxury of legal haircuts and hair dressings,” said Sandra Bullard. “I will be the first to Johnson’s when it opens. I can use a serious hairstyling, but besides any of that, Johnson’s has a long history in this country and we need its doors and all the other doors of legitimate grooming facilities opened.”