Barbers say they can’t afford to practice ‘social distance’ during coronavirus outbreak

Barbers say they can’t afford to practice 'social distance' during coronavirus outbreak

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The biggest headline for all of us in North Carolina is how Governor Roy Cooper recommends no group meeting or event over 100 people.

That goes statewide and starts Friday. He also stressed keeping a “social distance” - or staying about six feet away from other people. But what happens if being around people is your livelihood?

It creates a major economic impact.

Nothing in this life is free. At First Flight Barber and Styling, customers can pay $18 for a haircut.

For Brandon Mitchell, even safety comes at a price.

“We’re taking a risk, but at the end of the day we have bills to pay,” said Mitchell.

Working from home and staying away from people to cut down his exposure to germs is not an option. There is just no way to be a barber without touching clients.

“I’m not really nervous, I’m just at a high precaution,” he said.

Cutting hair is a job where you’re required to have clean standards by law. Now that there are two cases testing presumptive positive for coronavirus in Mecklenburg County, Mitchell says he’ll try to go even above those basic requirements.

“I always make sure we have our gloves on,” said Mitchell.

He is also asking his customers to take more precautions when they walk through his door.

“If they’re sick, stay at home, keep their hands clean,” he said.

If fighting the virus means giving up his job in the meantime, it’s a battle he says he or his co-workers can’t afford.

“Business will stop, lights will be off, and jobs will be lost,” said Mitchell.

The other concern Mitchell has is if his customers stop coming because they’re trying to self-quarantine. That is a real possibility, but so far this week, business has still been good.

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