A Shelby County barbershop is planning to reopen its doors Friday in defiance of the state’s order shuttering non-essential businesses after its owner said it was left “with no other choice.”
The Male Room, a full-service barbershop in the Inverness Corners shopping center off Highway 280, will be offering its services by appointment only starting Friday and with safety measures in place, Scott Farr, president and partner of Ervin, Farr Inc., which owns the barbershop, said in a Facebook post Tuesday. Farr could not be reached by AL.com, and nobody was at the business when AL.com stopped by Wednesday afternoon. A sign hung on the front door said The Male Room was closed due to COVID-19
“Granted, we are not designated, according to the state of Alabama as ‘essential,’ but the income in which we have been deprived through governmental mandate is essential to our staff and their families,” Farr wrote.
The Male Room and its employees filed for stimulus programs intended to blunt the impact of the coronavirus, Farr said, but the benefits may take time to reach the business.
“And while this relief may eventually find its way to us, we are left with no other choice than to reopen for business now,” he said. “So, given the circumstances The Male Room will reopen for business on Friday, April the 17th at 10 a.m.”
Under Gov. Kay Ivey’s stay-at-home order that also bars non-essential businesses like barbershops from operating, businesses and individuals that flout the order may be charged with a misdemeanor and up to a $500 fine. Separate violations are issued for each day the order is defied
“Mitigations” will be implemented during the reopening, Farr said, including limited services (haircuts and neck shaves only), conducting services by appointment only, no more than four staff members will be working and “ample social distancing” between stations. Workers will also be wearing face shields and only credit card payments will be taken.
Employees will not be required to work, and Farr said some have contacted him saying they are uncomfortable working.
The Male Room owner said he understands the plan to reopen will be a controversial one and that the health and safety of staff and customers “are of utmost importance.”
“Every practical precaution in the operation of the business will be utilized,” he said. “We are making this difficult decision because not doing so ensures the business will fail. I cannot in good conscience stand by and voluntarily forego a business that many people have worked so hard to build and maintain.”
Although Farr said he takes “full responsibility” for the decision to reopen, he said that does not extend to his business’ liability should anyone contract the coronavirus.