Downtown barbershop closing doors after governor's COVID-19 concerns; owner says he's hopeful

Posted at 9:39 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 07:24:07-04

NORFOLK, Va. - John Laberge was working on a cut when he got some news he says he was expecting.

“We saw it on social media.”

Laberge is the manager at The VIP Lounge Barbershop in Norfolk.

He says he knew the coronavirus would force him to put the clippers away and close the shop, but he didn't think it would be this soon.

Governor Ralph Northam says it’s the best decision for Virginia right now.

“It is clear that many of our non-essential businesses must close to minimize the speed at which COVID-19 spreads and protect the capacity of our health care system,” said Governor Northam.

Barbershops, hair and nail salons and spas are all considered recreational and entertainment businesses, which all fall under the governor's executive order to close before midnight on Tuesday.

Laberge says closing the doors means his 11 barbers now have to find a new source of income because the shop will lose money.

“Anywhere between a hundred and thousands of dollars a day,” he adds.

Governor Northam says the order is in place until Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Laberge says, “We got to save for stuff like this. Hopefully everybody has some kind of emergency fund to go to.”

The owner of this barbershop also says while the doors will be closed, it’s also a great time to spend time with friends and family - and also perfect your craft.

“We are all students of something. You can take this time and learn as much as you can. It’s going to make us stronger,” says shop owner Nado Garcia.

He says closing your business for a month is not something you prepare for.

“This sucks, but we are being forced to actually do this things that we say we don’t have time for.”

Garcia says it’s a good time for self care.

“This is the time to really relax and enjoy and take care of yourself, especially in this industry. Barber, nails - our job is to take care of other people.”

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

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