'A little desperate:' Cary barber cautiously prepares for reopening

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are dividers now hanging at stations inside a Cary barbershop. The owner has spent about $1,000 putting this and other safety precautions in place for when his business reopens during Phase 2.

We still don't know when that Phase 2 will be activated and what rules will be given.

Neither the governor nor the State Board of Cosmetology has provided a list of restrictions.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper said his team is still looking at data and hopes to have an announcement about Phase 2 midweek.

The Right Cut owner Jesse Padilla-Alegria says he's reopening to welcome customers when the time comes.

"The curtains here is just kind of to create some separation between the barber and there's a client sitting there. If the client sneezes or whatever, at least it makes the other guy comfortable," he said.

He also hired a professional cleaning crew to disinfect the space and bought an air filtration system.

Padilla-Alegria found a thermometer and is planning on checking everyone's temperature before they come inside.

Cuts are going to be appointment-only, and no walk-ins will be allowed.

Barbers will be wearing masks and gloves.

"We'll be changing them out in between clients and wiping the chair down," said Padilla-Alegria.

He says people have been hitting him up trying to book appointments. He's hearing from regulars and folks he's never met.

"People are desperate at this point," he said.

Padilla-Alegria says he hasn't done one illegal cut during the COVID crisis frankly out of fear.

"We can catch a second-degree misdemeanor, $2,500 fine, up to seven days in jail, and they can take our license," he said.

In the meantime, Padilla-Alegria is trying to make a few bucks doing food deliveries.

"I'm a business owner doing UberEats. Pride-wise, that was a lot to take in," he said.

The work has helped him a little, but he's not making the same money as before.

Despite the cautions taken ahead of reopening, he remains concerned.

"I have a mom, kids, older parents. I don't want to get them sick, but I don't know what to do," he said. "As long as the bills roll in, I have to work. It's a combination of fear, but I'm starting to get a little desperate, too to get back to normal and make a little money."

The takeaway -- while many of us are counting down the days to get a cut or chop off our dead ends -- barbershops or salon owners are preparing to reopen with extreme trepidation.

Padilla-Alegria said he might keep up the dividers through August.
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