DeKalb County barbers grateful to have customers back in the chair

Tony Williams is happy to pull out his clippers and give clients exactly what they've been missing for more than a month--a fresh haircut. He works at Decatur Family Barbershop in DeKalb County and told FOX 5 he's eager to have customers back in the chair. But he admits it's about more than just restoring his income.

"People have been holding out and need a haircut and I'm glad to be back. These are my folks. This is my family and it's always good to be around family," said Williams.

Larry Blackwell has owned the barbershop on Snapfinger Road for more than a decade. He told FOX 5's Portia Bruner it will likely take a month or two to recover from the financial hit he and his barbers took as a result of the shelter-in-place order that followed the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Georgia. Lifting the order, he said, also lifts a financial burden for small business owners.

"For me, to make a decision to open back up was not a hard decision. At the end of the day, it was a concern as far as the virus, but more concern as far as how the barbers and their families are gonna get by without their income," Blackwell told Bruner on his second day of business since Governor Brian Kemp lifted shelter-in-place order for barbershops, hair salon and tattoo parlors in late April.

Q&A: What to expect when visiting newly reopened businesses in Georgia

Blackwell said his customers will remain seated several feet apart or just wait outside for the next barber. As far as sanitation and disinfecting surfaces, he said barbers have always been held to a higher standard and will do what it takes to keep each and their customers from spreading or catching the virus.

"I brought some masks and gloves for my client in case they need them in case they don't come through the door with them," said Williams.

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While COVID-19 may have stopped the cash and customer flow at barbershops, clearly nothing can stop the camaraderie barbershops are known for in every community.

"After not seeing them for a month or so and they're starting to come back in again slowly, it's like we're meeting all over again. It's a family, no doubt,” told Bruner as cheerful clients made their way into his shop.

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