FPI / June 5, 2020
Despite releasing an eight-step plan for reopening their businesses across the state, hair salon owners in Michigan say they are still unable to open under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's coronavirus lockdown orders.
To make matters worse, Whitmer recently told the state's residents to “Google how to do a haircut,” infuriating beauty professionals who felt the governor was disrespecting them.
“As if being closed wasn’t impossible enough, Gov. Whitmer made matters worse by disrespecting Michigan’s highly-trained licensed cosmetologists in saying that people can simply Google how to do a haircut,” said Kevin Lent, president of BAMF X2, LLC and member of Safe Salons for Michigan. “Michigan’s licensed cosmologists and barbers are well-trained, educated professionals who have spent years honing their abilities. On behalf of the entire salon industry, we ask Gov. Whitmer for an apology.”
Mike Sarafa, CEO of the Alline Group and a member of Safe Salons for Michigan, “I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the entire industry and the over 100,000 licensed cosmetologists and barbers in the state of Michigan, to ask the governor to apologize for this remark. She is speaking about the jobs of tens of thousands of Michigan voters that are either furloughed or unemployed. It is insulting and degrading and a slap in the face to an industry already reeling from forced closures and shutdowns, and it is tone-deaf in the height of arrogance.”
Whitmer apologized on Thursday: “I didn't mean to offend people who are in the profession. I think that it's important, I think that it is licensed for a reason. These are professionals who take it seriously and intimately interact with the public, and that's why we have to take this very seriously about how we proceed to keep people safe. ...So if my comment offended anyone, I apologize for that."
Whitmer's apology comes days after the lifting of her stay-at-home order for most businesses. The order excluded hair salons, barbers, fitness centers and movie theaters, which remain on lockdown.
Sarafa said while testifying before the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic: “Today in Michigan, you can get your teeth cleaned, get your dog groomed, get a relaxing facial at the dermatologist and then join friends at a restaurant or bar for dinner and drinks, all while you still can’t get a haircut in a sanitary environment.”
The Safe Salons for Michigan coalition last week released an eight-step plan for reopening their businesses across the state.
“New data revealed Michigan is the only state where salons remain fully closed,” the coalition said in a release. “Data from Behindthechair.com shows that Michigan salons remain closed, while salons in all other states have either fully or partially reopened, or have a reopening date scheduled.”
The coalition blasted Whitmer’s response when the governor was asked about Michigan residents taking their business across borders to Ohio or Indiana for haircuts.
“I’d tell people if you’re like me and you need a haircut that desperately, a couple more weeks of this and we may be back in a place where we’re able to do that safely,” Whitmer said. “If you’re one of those people going to Ohio, I hope and pray you are doing your part not to bring COVID-19 home, and that if you haven’t, Google how you do a haircut or throw your hair into a ponytail and get through the next couple of weeks so we can resume some of these things.”
Free Press International