CenCal Barbers in Parlier is open for business after city officials said last week that barbers and beauty salons in the town can reopen. Image via Google user Paul Rubio

published on May 4, 2020 - 11:55 AM
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How far would you be willing to drive for a haircut during a pandemic?

When a woman from Hayward heard that Parlier would be one of the first cities in California to re-open its barbershops and hair salons, she rounded up her two boys for the three-hour drive to CenCal Barbers to get them a trim.

Emmanuel Iniguez, owner of Cencal Barbers, said that ever since the shop was forced to shut down in March, he has had people constantly calling him for haircuts on the side.

Monday is the first day that barbershops and salons in Parlier have been open, but with new health protocols and wariness from the public, the shop isn’t very busy.

“My waiting room used to have 15 chairs — there’s four now,” Iniguez said. “It’s good because we are staying clean and safe, but it is more time consuming. Usually we have about 15-20 [per day], right now we are doing about 8. People are not coming in like before. A lot of people are still really scared.”

Most of the customers coming in for a haircut are essential workers, Iniguez said, and because the streets of Parlier are empty, there are not many walk-in customers.

Barbershops, hair and beauty salons have been closed since Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order for California because of the risk of the novel coronavirus.

On May 1, the Parlier City Council and Mayor Alma Beltran decided to allow for barbershops and hair salons to reopen in compliance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

All employees must wear masks and gloves, sanitize the booth after each client, make masks available for clients and book only by appointment.

Under the governor’s four stage-plan to reopen California’s economy during the pandemic, “higher risk workplaces” including hair and nail salons, will not reopen until stage three, which he has said could be months from now.

Other “higher risk workplaces” that will be able to reopen in stage 3 include gyms, movie theaters, sports venues without live audiences and in-person religious services such as churches and weddings.

Iniguez said that he has applied for federal loans to help support the business, but that he has been denied multiple times.

With a smaller shop, Iniguez has three employers and he said that he has been book non-stopped since he opened Monday morning.

“Honestly, I want more businesses to open up,” Iniguez said. “Since I’m the only one kind of all eyes are on me—I haven’t got off the phone since I’ve woken up this morning. Everybody is calling and asking for appointments. I am a family man, so I have to come to work.”

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