Hairstylists protest exclusion from phase one of reopening Texas

Hairstylists and barbers rallied in north Houston Thursday protesting the governor’s economic shutdown that is preventing them from opening their salons and barbershops.

Thursday just so happens to be National Hairstylist Appreciation Day. Thursday is also the day before malls, movie theaters, and retailers will be allowed to reopen, but salons and barbershops are still mandated to stay closed.

“We are professional, and we deserve to make a living,” said Farouk Shami, founder of Farouk Systems CHI Haircare.

Shami was among the hairdressers and barbers staging a protest against Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order that prevents salons and barbershops from joining other retailers in reopening May 1.

“The governor is not allowing us to open,” said Shami. “Is he going to leave us to starvation? Absolutely not.”

The rally took place outside of Shami’s company headquarters in north Houston.

Hairdressers and barbers carried signs that read, “Let us work and choose,” “love my state, love my governor, love freedom more,” and “beauty salons have been safe even before COVID-19.”

“Every comb, every brush, every instrument, every scissor, every clipper has to be sanitized, okay?” said Shami. “We wear gloves all the time. Masks when we’re applying color—all of that. The law requirement of safety is what we practice every day. Restaurants don’t have that.”

The governor says salons and barbershops won’t be allowed to reopen until May 18 at the earliest, but hairdressers are hoping their protest will convince him to change that order to an earlier date. In the meantime, some barbershops have had to shutter their business permanently due to an inability to pay rent at their shops.