Shaggy Mississippians struggling with the nerve to break out the clippers and a bowl could find relief from their unkempt appearance as barbershops, salons and fitness centers reopened on Monday.

Gov. Tate Reeves announced last week that the state would allow those businesses to reopen as long as they followed new guidelines put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Barber Rayshaun Smith of The Bobbleshop & Stylz barbershop on Summit Street in McComb had a box of gloves, a box of face masks, a spray bottle full of bleach cleaner and a nearly empty bottle of hand sanitizer as he opened his shop on Monday.

“Barbers were the original doctors,” he said. “That was the job, to protect the public. You’ve got to have protocol.”

Smith said his customers have been desperate for haircuts lately.

“They’ve been ready to tear the door down,” he said.

He’s seen some results of DIY barbering and said hair cutting is best left to the professionals.

“It’s OK for people to try to cut their own or try to do this at the house, but we’re setting them up for failure,” he said.

Smith said everyone who sits in his chair will be required to wear masks, according to guidelines for salons and barbershops outlined by Gov. Tate Reeves last week.

Additionally, shops must be disinfected before reopening and deep-cleaned daily, have hand sanitizer at entrances, and have chairs rearranged for social distancing. Additionally, only one customer is allowed in at a time.

Employees and customers must be screened for COVID-19, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours. Employees must wear gloves and face coverings, and customers must wear a face covering.

Customers will be required to wait for their appointment in their vehicles and must sanitize their hands when they enter and leave.

Smith said he understands the importance of the guidelines and following them.  

Besides, he’s been sidelined too long to go against the government mandates and needs his shop to stay open.

“If that’s what it takes to make a dollar, you know. We ain’t got no benefits or nothing,” he said.

Smith said some of his fellow barbers have been struggling amid the stay at home and safer at home orders.

“If you don’t know how to get to another job or been putting back for these days here — bro — I’ve got some barber friends and they ain’t looking too tough,” he said. “I’m doing. It’s been tough.”

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On Anna Drive in McComb, members of the FitLife Sports Complex were easing back into their exercise routines on Monday, manager Jerry Ivey said.

“The governor turned us loose at 8 o’clock this morning,” he said. “It’s been steady all day and people seemed to be safe.”

Like barbershops and restaurants, gyms have a new set of rules to follow in order to prevent the spread of the virus.  

“We’re screening everybody at the front door and taking their temperature and asking all of the appropriate questions,” Ivey said.

Group fitness classes have markers taped to the floor every six feet to promote social distancing and the gym is getting a daily deep cleaning, in addition to frequent cleaning throughout the day.

“I thought from the beginning we were as clean as we were going to get,” Ivey said. “We were about to rub the paint off of those machines.”

Ivey said cleanliness is important in the gym business, calling it “the thing that people notice the most.”

“They are so impressed with the cleanliness anyway because we wipe and clean,” he said.

Ivey said members have been eager to return to the fitness center, and he has too.

“I have been bored to death,” he said.

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