Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a statewide shelter-in-place order on Monday, March 23, ordering all “non-essential” businesses to be closed. One category of businesses deemed non-essential included barbershops and hair salons. That put state residents on their own for hair grooming for the foreseeable future.
“I made sure to get my hair done before the shutdown of the salons,” said Sharon McMaster of Birmingham. “I plan on going back to the salons as soon as they reopen because not only do I not trust myself to do my own hair, but I also want to support my hairdresser who does not have any source of income right now.”
Lisa Walsh of Sola Salon in Birmingham said, “I had planned to take at least two weeks off before Gov. Whitmer’s announcement. I think we all need to stay at home until COVID-19 is on the downswing.”
Some plan to go back to hair salons as soon as they reopen, which will result in very busy hours for hairdressers.
“I get haircuts every six to seven weeks, so I am looking forward to going to the salon as soon as it reopens,” said Jennifer Kerstetter of Birmingham.
To prepare for the surplus of customers when the shops reopen, Walsh plans to work overtime.
“I plan on adding a few days and a few hours to my schedule the first few weeks back,” Walsh said. “It should be busy and I hope it is busy. Three weeks without income is tough.”
Some people went to the extreme to deal with having no haircuts, such as Joey McElroy, a Michigan State student and resident of Birmingham who completely shaved his head.
“Honestly, I’ve been looking for an excuse to shave my head for a while, so this was definitely the time to do it,” McElroy said. “I personally think this shutdown is going to last longer than we may have thought at first, so I shaved my head just in case we have to go a few months without haircuts.”
While it is an inconvenience to some, people understand the reason for salons shutting down, and Walsh says it should have been done earlier.
“I think Gov. Whitmer was a bit late to the party,” Walsh said. “Closing restaurants and bars but leaving the businesses with the closest personal contact open was a goof, in my opinion. Two hours after my self-imposed last day, she made the announcement that we had to close.”
(Editor’s note: With classes moving online, some Michigan State journalism students are reporting about their home communities.)