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From China to Italy to the United States, the coronavirus is affecting millions around the globe, with more than 115,000 infected and an estimated 4,000 dead worldwide.

It’s also impacting our economy, closing down festivals such as SXSW, canceling flights, postponing Coachella and even causing college students to stay home in their dorms and finish their semesters online. Now, the virus has its sights on the billion-dollar hair industry.

Recently reporters from WUSA9 talked to several D.C. and Maryland stylists and business owners who claim that it’s been difficult to have their bulk order demands met by vendors importing hair from China. One Black woman, Shannel Wallace, who runs District Cheveux, stressed that it’s become “harder” to get the hair she needs to meet her clients’ needs. She’s been waiting since January.

“I just never imagined coronavirus would affect me, being in the states,” she said. “Not directly as far as being sick, but my business.”

 

Another, Stephanie Nolan, owner of  XOXO Virgin Hair, is experiencing similar obstacles, but due to labor issues.

“Due to the coronavirus, and the measures taken to cut down on the virus in China, people aren’t allowed to go to, or really return to, work,” she said.

 

 

There have also been some questions about whether or not the hair from China is safe with Wallace telling WUS9 that her clients are afraid.”When they get their hair, [they question] is it going to be contaminated?” she said.

When you think about it, it’s a warranted question. Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that it’s unlikely that the hair is can carry the virus.

“There is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” the CDC says on its website, adding, “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets.”

As The Root’s Maiysha Kai pointed out, that while some may look at this development as shallow and frivolous given how serious coronavirus is, “it’s worth acknowledging that in the United States alone, hair imports from are an over-$1.5 billion hair industry” and that “Black women are both the industry’s primary clientele and increasingly its purveyors.”

Just something to think about.

BEAUTIES: How, if at all, has the coronavirus impacted your daily life?

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