LaPORTE — Residents in need of a haircut and a break from isolation are flocking to reopened barbershops even though COVID-19 remains a public health threat.
Haircutting establishments were allowed to reopen Monday in most Indiana counties — though not Lake County — under Gov. Eric Holcomb’s loosened COVID-19 restrictions.
Julie Wisser of Carter’s Barber Shop at 711 Jefferson Ave. said the 83 customers her shop served Monday were by far the most on a Monday in her 18 years of owning the business.
Despite lingering concerns about the virus, Wisser said she expected heavy turnout since many of her customers are used to stopping by every three to four weeks.
“Everybody is all piled up needing a haircut all at once. Our customers are looking like hippies,” she said.
One of her customers, Eric Smith, of LaPorte, said his wife gave him a trim several weeks ago but he was willing to overlook any risk he might be taking to have his hair cut professionally, and to be among others.
“It’s nice to see movement and activity. Things are maybe in the direction of getting back to normal,” he said.
“I’m not highly concerned. They’re taking precautions,” said Chris Kendall, another regular at the barbershop eager for a trim and escape from seclusion.
Wisser said several people from Michigan also showed up, since barbershops under COVID-19 restrictions in that state remain closed.
Carter’s Barber Shop is giving numbers to customers and only allowing them into the shop when there’s enough social distancing space for them to step inside and wait for their turn in the chair.
Haircutters wear masks while customers are given the option of covering their faces or not.
Business was also brisk at Wilson’s Barbershop & Shave Parlor at 818 Lincolnway.
For now, haircuts there are given by appointment to keep people from congregating outside, and time slots quickly filled up.
Barbers and customers there are required to have a mask on.
“We’re booked out until Saturday,” said Matt Spoloric, one of the barbers at Wilson’s.