Allowing barbershop, hair salon walk-ins, waiting areas headed for Sununu's desk

Harrison Thorp 7:16 a.m.

Allowing barbershop, hair salon walk-ins, waiting areas headed for Sununu's desk

Town Square Barber on Wakefield Street; inset, owner Sue Erickson cuts a customer's hair. (Courtesy photos)

If Gov. Chris Sununu stands behind his statements made to The Rochester Voice at a Sept. 24 press conference, it's almost certain that hairdressers and barbershops will have a lot easier time making a living, probably by next Thursday or maybe even sooner.

That's because the governor's Economic Reopening Task Force on Thursday brought forward several proposals to relax the guidelines to allow walk-ins and waiting areas where social distancing can be ensured.

The proposals would ditch the practice of making customers wait in their cars as well as getting a haircut by appointment only, something Town Square Barbershop owner Sue Erickson said was making it impossible to get through a haircut without having to answer the phone a number of time to take reservations.

Customers will now be able to just walk in for a haircut and wait their turn. The new guidelines urge customers to still make reservations if possible.

The proposed guidelines would also allow work stations to be closer than six feet apart with the insertion of barriers.

The Rochester Voice brought up the plight of Erickson and other barbers and hair dressers during the governor's Sept. 24 press conference in Concord, contrasting the current relaxation of food establishments as opposed to the tough restrictions still imposed on barbers and hair stylists.

"We're always willing to look at what options might be available, whether it's a barbershop or a hair salon, whatever it might be," Sununu said. "And again, if that can be done safely and we can do something with flexing the guidance and with Public Health, happy to do that."

A Union Leader article today said the new guidelines were unanimously endorsed by the reopening task force.

In a Sept. 6 article published in The Voice Erickson said, ""Having to make reservations for a haircut is killing us."

She said between answering the phone, answering phone messages, returning phone messages and texting back and forth with potential clients, it was an absolute nightmare.

Michelle Woods, a barber who works alongside Erickson, remarked that earlier in the week the business phone rang 20 times during one haircut.