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At the core of businesses affected by social distancing are beauty salons. The beauty service world has been crippled after being deemed non-essential. The decision forced salon owners to close their doors and a workforce in shambles as they try to make ends meet. Some have even turned to doing hair in their home.

“When I got word we were mandated to shut down, I was pretty upset about it,” Tierra Milton, owner of She And Her Studio on Staten Island, told us through e-mail. “I didn’t know how to feel or what to expect.”

At least 46 states enacted orders to close nonessential businesses, according to ABC News. With limited financial options, stylists, barbers and nail technicians have found themselves risking their lives to keep up with their clientele. Rochester reported at least 7,000 complaints about non essential businesses operating against government restriction. Beloved Mississippi barber, Eugene Thompson, who continued to take clients in his home despite “stay at home” orders, succumb to the virus just days shy of his 46th birthday.

“I’ve always said from the jump salons are essential because when you feel and look good it lights the fuel,” she says.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed holes in the U.S. economy as over 22 million people have filed for unemployment in the month of April. “Currently I am hurting financially,” Tierra revealed. Financial burden is only half Milton’s worries. “I miss the emotional connection between me and my clients.”

Milton is blessed to have some sort of cushion/ savings account but dispensing “unnecessary capital” is not ideal. “I was accepting clients in my home but once [the virus] got worse it’s been less clients.”

Before business came to a sudden halt, Milton noticed a trend rising among home appointments. Braids. “The new trend of hairstyling has been corn rows, box braids or weaves.”

Milton says she has a healthy relationship with her landlord, who she describes as understanding.

Governor Cuomo extended “stay at home” orders for New York until May 15.


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