LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she hopes hair salons -- one of the most controversial reopening topics in the state right now -- will be allowed to reopen “in the coming days and weeks.”
“This is one of those services that is up close and personal and that’s why we take it so seriously," Whitmer said Thursday on the “Mojo In The Morning” radio show. "It’s my fervent hope that in the coming days and weeks we are going to be as back to normal as we can be until we have a vaccine and that includes haircuts.”
Whitmer spoke about hair salons in response to a listener who called on behalf of hairstylists.
Salon owners were angry when Whitmer said during Monday’s press briefing that residents should “Google how you do a haircut.”
“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 at the briefing. “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.”
On Thursday, the caller asked Whitmer if she would like to apologize for suggesting that instead of driving to Ohio, residents could just Google how to do a haircut themselves.
“I made an offhand comment that if you needed a trim, you can Google it," Whitmer said. "I didn’t mean to offend people who are in that profession. I think that is important. I think that it is licensed for a reason. These are professionals who take it seriously and intimately interact with the public and that’s why we have to take this very seriously about how we proceed to keep people safe -- the professionals in this field and their customers and their families. So if my comment offended anyone, I apologize for that.”
Salon owners claim Michigan is the only state in which salons and barber shops remain closed.
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.
“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.
The coalition had also asked Whitmer to apologize for “disrespecting" beauty professionals.
“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.”