Grand Strand salons, barbershops holding on tight during recent COVID-19 spike

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The recent spike in COVID-19 cases is troubling news for those who earn a living through close-contact businesses, such as hair salons.

Lisa Coombs owns Diva’s Hair Design in Myrtle Beach and says she feels comfortable operating without a facemask right now. She said it’s because her staff members are sanitizing on a regular basis to keep it safe for clients.

Coombs also explained that many clients are fully vaccinated, and that business was booming earlier in the year. However, she’s now seeing a decline during this stage of the pandemic.

Right now, Coombs said she’s having to focus on ways to make additional income until things turn back around again.

“Coming up with creative ideas to keep income-generating,” she said. “I haven’t considered anything else outside of that. I’ve been in business for over 26 years now and I want to continue.”

Amy Howie, owner of Papillon Salon in North Myrtle Beach, says business has been good since close-contact businesses were permitted to reopen it’s doors last year.

She also says making a profit while balancing the best safety precautions at times is challenging.

“The most intimate place in the salon in the hair industry is at the shampoo bowl,” Howie said. “When the numbers started increasing again we went back to mandatory masks within the salon. I’m hoping to some degree we can all get back to some kind of normalcy. Because we are all tired of the extra steps we’re having to do but we will do it. I lost a loved one, an employee, a dear friend of mine, to COVID with pneumonia. We were best friends for 11 years, she worked with me for four. When you start losing loved ones, it becomes more personal. So I will do whatever I need to do to keep everyone I know as safe as I know how.”

Barbershops like Vick’s in North Myrtle Beach are also facing similar challenges.

Owner Sammy Martin says he feels comfortable working at the shop because he’s fully vaccinated. While masks aren’t required, he will wear one at a client’s request.

Martin says the shop has cut back on some of its hours because of the pandemic, but business has been steady thanks to local support.

In the meantime, he says everyone can play their part in keeping the shops safer.

“If you wake up and you got a runny nose and a fever and you feel yucky, don’t go in the barbershop or the grocery store or go shopping,” Martin said. “A person is in here 10-15 minutes max. I use every precaution I can.”

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