As 'non-essential' businesses reopen, clippers buzz at barbershop
Monday, May 18, 2020
The clippers were buzzing Monday at the Fade Shop barbers in Miami Lakes.
Owner Lucas Bedoya said 20 customers were groomed that morning at the business that is at 15363 N.W. 79th Court in the Park Centre Shops.
It was the first day that some non-essential businesses which had been closed for two months to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were allowed to resume business.
To maintain six feet between customers and staff, Bedoya can only have five of his 10 barbers work each shift.
"I have to rotate my barbers throughout the week,'' said Bedoya. "Five work today and the other five will work tomorrow. Instead of working six days, they each will work three days a week."
Bedoya, 40, said he's optimistic that limitations on how many people may be in the shop at the same time will be lifted in the near future.
Until then, he must operate at 25 percent capacity.
Per county rules, salon clients will see barbers wear masks and gloves, and face shields during face-to-face grooming of a beard or eyebrows.
Customers must wear masks unless they are being shaved or having facial hair trimmed.
Cleaners and disinfectants must be of bactericidal and fungicidal strengths and chairs and couches must be wiped down with water and a cloth.
Hard surfaces (counters, computers keyboards, phones, door handles and point of sale equipment) must be disinfected too.
Staffers must wash hands before and after tending to customers.
"I don't anticipate this happening much longer," Bedoya said about the occupancy restrictions.
Before the shutdown, his 15-year-old business averaged 600 customers a week.
Bedoya said though halting most commerce – which was done to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, for which there is no cure or vaccine – put businesses like his in difficult positions, he understands the goal.
"It was necessary because people were getting sick," Bedoya said. "We had to make a sacrifice. It was hard paying our rent and utility bills. But the shutdown was something that had to be done to save lives."
Bedoya said his barbers were desperate to return to work because they were denied unemployment benefits.
The state has received numerous complaints that the state unemployment website is difficult to use and was not prepared to process thousands of unemployment claims.
"They wouldn't have rushed to come back to work and risk getting infected had they been approved," Bedoya said.
The state said between May 15 - 17, 1,973,633 applications for unemployment were submitted, and nearly 897,000 claims have been paid.
DeSantis has said he is investigating how the $78 million site was developed, and reportedly faulted applicants for not filling out forms correctly, leading to delays in processing their claims.
Miami-Dade County leads the state in COVID-19 cases – with 15,688, with 566 deaths as of May 18, according to state records.
The Town of Miami Lakes had 66 cases as of May 18, after it had held steady at 45 cases for many days. Town Manager Edward Pidermann attributed the rise to a backlog of test results showing up in the numbers.
DeSantis said last week the state saw the number of cases rise overall after tallies came in from prisons, long-term health care facilities and hospitals.
Officials believe the rates for COVID-19 hospitalizations are low enough to allow businesses to gradually reopen. There were 8,304 hospitalized in the state as of Monday; 2,421 of those were in Miami-Dade County.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued 175 pages of guidelines for businesses allowed to reopen during what he is calling Phase One.
It applies to retailers, restaurants, shopping centers, barbershops, nail and hair salons as well as museums, warehouses and factories.
Restaurants, shopping centers and stores must operate at a 50 percent capacity; other businesses may occupy with staff and customers at just 25 percent.
"We're excited," Mayor Manny Cid said during the town's May 14 Facebook Live daily COVID-19 update. "It's a great day in our community because we sacrificed a lot, so Monday is a very important date."
Cid said the town will continue to advocate for non-essential businesses that were excluded from Phase One.
"We want to see you open as soon as possible so we are 100 percent back to normalcy in our community," he said. "Your business may be non-essential but it's essential to you, your family and your customers."
Miami Lakes reopened its three major parks last month, and Shula’s Golf Course opened too.
But on Monday, bars, movie theaters, gyms and fitness studios, hotels and pools remained closed.
The town excluded from public use the basketball courts, community centers and 100 pocket parks.
On Monday afternoon, town councilman Joshua Dieguez and other officials and business leaders cut a ribbon in council chambers to celebrate the reopening of local economy.
In the photo above, Barber Johnathan Moscoso tends to a young client at the Fade Shop in Miami Lakes. Photo courtesy of Lucas Bedoya.