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How Washington barbershops are getting ready to reopen safely

Barbershops in Washington will be allowed to reopen in Phase 2. (Valiant Barber and Supply)

With barbershops on the list of businesses that will be permitted to reopen in Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s plan, many are already laying down the groundwork to ensure they’re ready to keep their customers safe.

That includes Seattle’s Valiant Barber and Supply.

“The entire shop of Valiant will be ready as soon as the governor gives his A-OK,” Valiant barber Tyler Poole told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show. “We’ve been looking at taking extreme precautions to make sure that everyone that comes into the shop will be safe, and so that our barbers and other people around the area can stay safe as well.”

Barbershops — in addition to salons and tattoo parlors — will be required to maintain just 50% capacity, while staff and customers will have to wear cloth face coverings, and avoid paying with cash when possible.

Shops like Valiant plan to adjust their appointment schedules to account for the reduced capacity, while reducing the number of barbers working each day.

“We will be having essentially half the staff working to be able to keep that appropriate six foot distance,” Poole described.

Appointments that typically are blocked out for an hour will be extended to an hour and 15 minutes, to allow time to sanitize work stations between customers.

Meanwhile, shops like Stag Barber & Styling in Snohomish have defied Gov. Inslee’s stay-at-home order and opened early. Poole is reluctant to follow suit.

“I feel like the social distancing has really had a good step, and I do feel like Phase 2 will be a good, appropriate time to open up the barbershop,” he noted. “… The fines are large if we do get caught cutting hair and providing service outside of the demands of the governor. As a barber, I could be hit with a $5000 fine, and I can also lose my license.”

The state is currently targeting an early June date to enter into Phase 2. However, Inslee said Thursday he can’t guarantee that will necessarily be the case. In the meantime, Valiant will remain ready.

You can also donate to a GoFundMe in support of Valiant while it remains closed here.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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