Some local small businesses have already succumbed to the economic impact of the coronavirus. However, a Delaware County barber shop re-opened its doors, defying Governor Tom Wolf’s order mandating all non-life-sustaining businesses to remain closed.
Giovanni’s Media Barber Shop has new procedures in place for customers wishing to get a fresh haircut and shave. Owner Nichole Missino instituted safety precautions like temperature checks at the door, disposable capes, partitions between customers, and sanitizing between haircuts to make customers feel comfortable in her shop.
“We’re cleaning every single station after every single client, so we’re giving ourselves a little bit of like extra time to do that. We’re not back to back booking clients. So, we’re just, we’re here. We’re ready,” says Missino.
Missino went on to say that she is not concerned about the potential consequences of defying Governor Wolf’s order, which includes fines, arrest, and the risk of losing her operations license.
“I feel like the governor needs to come in here to see what I put in place to model this shop for what needs to be done in all shops all across Pennsylvania so we can get open safely,” she said.
Trooper Jessica Tobin, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police, said the Media Borough Police Department has jurisdiction to intervene if they deem it necessary, but the state police are “not looking to second guess law enforcement.”
Tobin added that the Pennsylvania State Police will only get involved if there is a request from the Media Borough Police Department or the governor.
For now, there is no shortage of customers. The barbershop is fully booked until the beginning of June, allowing for appointments only to limit the number of patrons in the shop.
It has been twelve weeks since Vincent Barbiere, 63, received a haircut. He is not worried about contracting the virus and believes the shop did the right thing to open.
“I can go to Disney World and get dinner but I can’t get a haircut in Pennsylvania. There’s something wrong with that,” says Barbiere.
It is important to clarify that Disney Springs has begun to reopen, but the theme parks remain closed. Disney World announced on Wednesday they will begin a “phased reopening” of their parks on July 11, 2020.
Southeastern Pennsylvania is still in the “red phase” and is expected to enter the “yellow phase” on June 5, 2020. However, hair and nail salons and gyms will not be permitted to open until the “green phase.”
Media Borough Police Chief Martin Wusinich said, “We are aware they did open. We are aware certain state agencies are investigating.” These agencies include Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, Department of State, and the State Licensing Bureau.
Temple Update will continue to update this story as it develops.
This story was updated 5/27/2020 at 1:05 p.m.