MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Social Distancing is now the normal way of life in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic.
For those who work in some industries, social distancing may not be even possible. It’s impossible for hairstylists, barbers and nail technicians to keep six feet away from their clients while working.
“Even with social distancing, people have limited how many clients they see, people have opened up empty chairs between each station, people are just saying this isn’t worth the risk, we need to do the right thing, we need to try and support the attentiveness, and let’s close even if they’re not required to,” said Steve Sleeper, Executive Director of the Professional Beauty Association, a non-profit that represents barbers, stylists, nail technicians, and suppliers around the country.
Sleeper is watching the anxiety shift among his members from health and safety to serious financial concerns and is already making an effort to address the issue.
“We’re also looking at longer-term trying to set up a fund for some financial relief. It’ll be, obviously, given the demand, it’ll be something right? Every little bit is going to count and maybe it’s a difference-maker for a salon to get some aid from our fund once we get it up and running.”
One of the most promising things Sleeper has seen throughout this pandemic is an immense amount of generosity from clients.
“I think there’s a special relationship between clients and their licensed professional,” said Sleeper. “Clients have been generous, they’ve been trying to help their stylists or their salon owner by pre-booking appointments, pre-paying for appointments, some have been buying gift cards, some just been flat out paying for a service they didn’t get because it was canceled due to a closure. I would encourage folks who are regular visitors of their salons and their stylists to find ways to help them bridge that gap.”
The Professional Beauty Association lobbies on behalf of the industry. It’s asking Congress to include a tax tip credit as part of the economic stimulus package it’s currently working to develop.