Wake County barbers and hairstylists heavily impacted by COVID-19 mandates

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — “This is our styling floor where all the magic happens for the ladies,” said Von Kekel Salon Spa Owner Shawn Kekel.

Tuesday the North Hills Salon was empty.

“It’s used to having a full staff, lots of guests running through and right now it’s dead silence, which is scary,” Kekel continued.

Non-essential businesses in Wake County were forced to close Monday. More will close across the state on Wednesday following Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order that mandates fitness centers, spas, nail salons, barbershops,  hair salons, and other professional grooming businesses to close.

“If we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Our rent still has to be paid, which we are concerned, very concerned about, just like all the other salons,” said Kekel.

The temporary closure had forced Kekel to be extra creative in an effort to help his business stay afloat while nearly 40 of his stylists are now out of work.

“To sustain our business we are going to hopefully offer something for our guest. They can maybe curbside their color that way they can take it home. At this point anything will help,” said Kekel.

Also feeling pain is Kendrick Boulware. He’s a barber. Tuesday he stood outside the shop where he worked up until Monday.

“I don’t think they actually thought about the barber and the actual stylist,” said Boulware. 

“I don’t think they thought about it at all how much it would affect us. How much it’s taking from us because every day we are losing so much money “ he continued.

Boulware sent out a message to his clients alerting them of the changes. He’s is now taking a risk by making house calls in order to make money during this time of uncertainty.

“I believe they have stuff set in place for the big corporations, but for the small businesses, like us, all of us here at every barbershop, and every stylist around — we are going to hurt the most,” Boulware said.

Many stylists and barbers are considered independent contractors and self-employed. According to the Division of Employment Security they wouldn’t qualify for unemployment benefits.

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