SC should allow hair stylists to bring their services to clients’ homes

Jobs & Economy
April 27, 2020

Palmetto Promise Team

While there are many suffering significant loss in the COVID fall-out, one of the most apparent personal inconveniences during business closures has been the lack of available barbers and hair dressers. Protests across the United States last week, while aimed at concerns about the need for a larger economic restart, revealed that Americans were also concerned about more immediate needs…like getting a haircut!

While the pros and cons of how and when to open salons will surely continue to generate conversation, some hairdressers have suggested there’s more than one way to tame those unruly locks.

Hilary Mansell, a mom of two and hairstylist in Mount Pleasant, SC, noted that the overhead of re-opening a salon without the ability to serve a full customer base could be a significant challenge. In addition to cost, she notes it could legitimately pose safety concerns for some:

“Part of me is obviously concerned because I’m not making any money and we have bills to pay. The other part of me is saying that making money to pay my bills isn’t worth someone possibly getting sick or dying,” she said, “Honestly I’m 50/50.”

Both Mansell and another Mt. Pleasant stylist, Courtney Frierson, have suggested another route that could be safer and cheaper, and would still allow them to bring in necessary income: taking their services outside the four walls of the salon.

Frierson told PPI, “I would be more apt to do my clients hair on my porch or their porch where we both wear masks and gloves versus being in a small contained space like a salon,” she suggested, “but I know LLR says stylists cannot do that.”

Frierson is referring to a South Carolina regulation that requires cosmetologists to perform their services in a licensed salon or risk having their license temporarily or permanently revoked. While many South Carolina regulations have been temporarily waived during the crisis to accommodate businesses, this law is still very much in place.

States like Oklahoma have doubled down, making it very clear to stylists that it’s illegal to give haircuts in private homes. In Texas, 2 women performing salon-type services from their home were actually arrested in an undercover police operation.

But other states have given the opposite guidance, and barbers have benefited as a result. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has told salon owners that they are allowed to visit client’s homes and perform services. A recent story from The Winchester Star profiles a Virginia barber with two young children who has only been able to continue earning money to provide for his family due to house calls for haircuts.

Palmetto Promise has been reporting on the many regulations waived by Governor McMaster and other agencies during this crisis and we’re encouraged by the flexibility the state has given to many occupations since the pandemic started. We believe this is one more opportunity to allow businesses, in this case cosmetologists, to get back to work in a safe and convenient way.

Featured Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg