TORONTO — Locals are turning to underground hairstyling services to freshen up their hairdo, with barbers and stylists allegedly paying clandestine house visits throughout the city to cut hair, blogTO reported.
“I have been offered up to $500 to do a haircut at home,” Lysa Fina told blogTO. She has owned and operated Grateful Head salon in Brockton Village for nearly 15 years.
Despite the enormous sums, Fina said she has declined all overtures for private haircuts, lest she loses her licence.
This February 23 will mark the third month that local hair salons and barbers have been shut, under the provincial government’s stay-at-home order. Three months without a haircut can feel like eons for some, and sure enough, those desperate enough for a fresh cut are turning to underground hairdressers.
Peter Gosling, the owner of Glassbox Barbershop in Harbord Village, told blogTO that these furtive hairstyling services are burgeoning as a “black market industry,” with stylists and barbers making house calls. This service is dubbed “kitchen culture,” according to Gosling, as patrons are getting haircuts in their kitchens.
Although unorthodox, Gosling said these black market haircuts restore the feeling of normal life for many who pursue them.
“People are just desperate for personal services, people are desperate to look good, people are desperate to have any sense of normality in their lives,” he told blogTO.
According to Gosling, these underground haircuts hurt the hair care service industry — particularly owners — as stylists and barbers get accustomed to working independently.
“This is a major problem for us because now I have to fight to get my employees back to work at their commission rate,” Gosling told blogTO.
He also expressed concerns about physical distancing and sanitation. While hair care facilities can control client distances and conduct appropriate disinfection, the same degree of vigilance cannot be applied in an at-home setting.
According to Gosling, there has been scant contact tracing to salons and barbershops, “because we were separating people two metres apart, everyone had to wear a mask, everyone had to sanitize before they came in, we were taking temperatures.”
He, like many other independent entrepreneurs, fears the economic landscape of small businesses in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On February 11, over 300 businesses planned to reopen in defiance of lockdown directives, as part of a protest organized by anti-lockdown group, We Are All Essential.
“Together we can prevent the loss of 222,000 small businesses and 3 million jobs while putting an end to countless lockdown casualties,” the protest’s flyer stated.
Wiki Production Code: A0623