WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As the state nears phase two of reopening, barbers and hair stylists are one group eager to get back to work.
Reopening salons and barber shops will come with its own set of challenges, and students at James Sprunt Community College have been working hard in their classes to gain certifications in infectious disease and how to stop the spread of the coronavirus while working with their clients.
“With barber school, we learn a lot. It’s more than just cutting hair,” said student Dylan Zuschlag. “It’s extremely important we sanitize and take care of our clients. Sometimes in different industries we get lax on protocol, but in the barber industry, it’s vital we stick to the rules and regulations because in the nick of a second, we could infect someone with something from the person before them.”
Zuschlag has three certifications right now, one in infectious diseases, barbicide and barbicide COVID-19.
One of the college’s instructors cautions that getting a trim will be very different once businesses are able to reopen. People may not be able to wait for their appointments in waiting rooms, appointments will be spaced further apart because it’s going to take barbers longer to clean between clients and gear up with fresh masks and gloves.
“When we go back it’s gonna be great. We’re gonna need to public to be patient. We had the running joke we would work 24 hours a day the first two weeks but that’s impossible. It’s so much cleaning, so much you have to take into consideration," said instructor Patsy McCoy. "A late client will say ‘it won’t take that long to cut my hair,’ not recognizing we gotta stop, sweep the floor, swiffer the floor, we have to re-clean the mirror re-clean the sink, sanitize the implements. It’s more than just ‘I’m gonna throw tools in the drawer and leave.’ There’s some work that has to go on.”
Zuschlag understands people are going to be more cognizant of sanitation going forward, and knows he’s prepared to keep himself and his clients safe from infectious diseases like COVID-19.
“Clients are gonna be nervous to go into barber shops, buts its important that our clientele and the general public understands the barber industry is very well prepared to open because we haven’t been open. We’ve done what we needed to do to prepare going forward,” said Zuschlag.
Instructors know the skills their students are picking up will make them better prepared to go to work after the pandemic and emphasize their expertise will be even more valuable than when the pandemic began. It’s just one reason the program is offering online classes this summer on the weekends. You can find information on that program on their website.