By Demion McTair. Updated 8:17 p.m., Tuesday, July 28, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Feature: In April 2020, Tonsorial Artist, Kenny De Young closed his business – The Barbershop, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His main reason? To protect his clients, himself and his family.
“I closed shop so that I could get to understand the virus to be able to protect myself and family, and my customers until I could have put some steps in place,” Kenny told One News SVG in an exclusive Interview on July 28, 2020.
A decision to put health first over money was no easy decision but it was the right thing to do, Kenny said.
About 3 weeks after closing The Barbershop, located at Bentick Square upstairs the OT Carpark building, Kenny began a phased reopening of his barber shop, once again putting health first.
“After following the guidelines from the Ministry of Health, I took the necessary precautions – hand sanitising, washing hands, and wearing masks, to ensure everyone was protected,” Mr. De Young told One News SVG.
The protocols at The Barbershop are in effect and remain so for all customers from the time they enter the compound.
“It is compulsory that they sanitize their hand upon entry, after which I would sanitize the seat and prepare myself with gloves and mask. I also try to avoid much communicating with the customers during the period of cutting their hair,” Mr. De Young told One News SVG.
He also said he prefers appointments during this period as a measure to control and limit the number of persons in the space at any given time.
Mr. De Young’s customers say they feel safe to take a haircut because of the protocols the Barbershop has in place to protect them.
“From the Covid-19 came into play, Kenny was one of the first barbers I saw that took the necessary precautions,” Jordache Francis of @da.Foodweightloss.coach said.
“The system he has in place makes me feel very safe. I’ve literally seen him told different customers that only a certain number of persons can enter the Barber shop at one time, a move that promotes social and physical distancing,” Francis, who is a regular customer told One News SVG.
Business Challenges due to Covid19
Mr. De Young says that there are several reasons why people continue to have a need for haircuts during the pandemic, but even so, business has been very slow.
“Several customers know me and trust me but beyond that, there are persons who come in from certain jobs which requires them to be well groomed,” the Tonsorial Artist with more than two decades experience says.
“For instance, policemen come to get their haircuts. Some work places require you look groomed and some people love to see themselves well groomed,” he added.
But, despite some business, Mr. De Young says on a regular day before the pandemic, he would serve 25 to 30 customers per day. Since pandemic, those numbers have significantly decreased to between 5 to 8 per customers per day.
One News SVG asked Mr. De Young if he had received any stimulus support from the government and he said no.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been offering income support and stimulus assistance to individuals and businesses, respectively, who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tonsorial artists and those in the cosmetology industry such as hairdressers have not received any assistance to date.