Michigan salon owners ‘disrespected’ by Gov. Whitmer telling people to ‘Google how to do a haircut’

Owners claim Michigan is only state that hasn’t opened salons, barber shops

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is under fire by salon owners for keeping their businesses closed. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan salon owners are furious at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for “disrespecting” them by telling residents to “Google how to do a haircut” instead of reopening their businesses. They also claim Michigan is the only state in which salons and barber shops remain closed.

UPDATE: Whitmer apologizes for comment that offended hair salon owners

The Safe Salons for Michigan coalition, which last week released an eight-step plan for reopening their businesses across the state, is again calling on Whitmer to allow them to operate.

“New data revealed Michigan is the only state where salons remain fully closed,” the coalition said in a release. “Data from Behindthechair.com (full graphic below) shows that Michigan salons remain closed, while salons in all other states have either fully or partially reopened, or have a reopening date scheduled.”

The coalition is asking Whitmer to reopen licensed salons and barber shops under last week’s eight-pillar safety plan.

MORE: Whitmer hopes haircuts will be allowed in Michigan ‘in the coming days and weeks’

“Today in Michigan, you can get your teeth cleaned, get your dog groomed, get a relaxing facial at the dermatologist and then join friends at a restaurant or bar for dinner and drinks, all while you still can’t get a haircut in a sanitary environment,” said Mike Sarafa, CEO of the Alline Group, while testifying before the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

READ: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses keeping hair, nail salons closed

The coalition is also asking Whitmer to apologize for “disrespecting" beauty professionals while speaking at a press event Monday, the release states.

“As if being closed wasn’t impossible enough, Gov. Whitmer made matters worse by disrespecting Michigan’s highly-trained licensed cosmetologists in saying that people can simply Google how to do a haircut,” said Kevin Lent, president of BAMF X2, LLC and member of Safe Salons for Michigan. “Michigan’s licensed cosmologists and barbers are well-trained, educated professionals who have spent years honing their abilities. On behalf of the entire salon industry, we ask Gov. Whitmer for an apology.”

The coalition is referring to Whitmer’s response when asked about Michiganders taking their money across borders to Ohio or Indiana for haircuts.

“I’d tell people if you’re like me and you need a haircut that desperately, a couple more weeks of this and we may be back in a place where we’re able to do that safely,” Whitmer said. “If you’re one of those people going to Ohio, I hope and pray you are doing your part not to bring COVID-19 home, and that if you haven’t, Google how you do a haircut or throw your hair into a ponytail and get through the next couple of weeks so we can resume some of these things.”

A map of salons in the United States (behindthechair.com)

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.