Having A Bad Hair Month? So Is the Rest of South Florida, Per Resident Complaints

Of all the businesses shuttered in South Florida -- hotels, restaurants, factories -- the No. 1 complaint the county's mayor hears about are related to the hair and nail salons

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Miami-Dade's mayor has assembled large working groups of experts and stakeholders to assess when it will be prudent open up large sectors of the economy: restaurants, museums and cultural venues, small businesses, retail shops, factories, office buildings, logistics and hotels.

But on Friday, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that "the No. 1 complaint," the thing residents apparently said they missed the most, was "personal grooming businesses."

To be clear, the inability to get a trim or dye job pales in comparison to the real hardships of this pandemic: the illness and loss of life as well as the economic calamity it is forcing on many families.

But this is South Florida, which, to put it mildly, is known to have a streak of superficiality running through some of its residents, often presenting itself in artificially enhanced body parts and fabulous hair.

Deemed a non-essential business, hair and nail salons have been shuttered for weeks. While a bad hair day or two might be tolerable in normal times, a bad hair month in Miami can amount to a cosmetological calamity.

Search for "hair" or "nails" among services offered on a popular free online classified website, and the offers leap from the screen. Among them is a young Miami Gardens mother named Ashunti, though she is known on Instagram as TressTeaze305.

"Doing hair and nails is a passion," Ashunti said, describing how she has been honing her skills and offering services for young family members, using masks, Lysol, bleach spray and gloves, while not coming into contact with older people who may be more susceptible to disease.

"I try to play it safe," she said. "And still, you know, at least make a little bit of money. Because since the shop has been closed, it's been quite hard."

In a Facebook post, Florida comedian Ken Miller (@kenmillercomedy) only slightly exaggerates the need for a trim, comparing his hair growth to that of Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained and a character in Blaxsploitation films, among others.

"I need a haircut, bro," he riffs, hilariously. But if the Orlando-based comic were in Miami-Dade, he would have to wait like everyone else, at least for a legal cut.

Mayor Gimenez says the ban remains in place for now.

"If you’re a hair salon, and if you’re a barber shop, and if you're a barber, we closed you down for a reason, right?" he said. "Now for you to go somewhere else and get your clients at home, it doesn’t make it any less dangerous."

Still, with the absence of salons sticking out of the body politic like a pesky cow-lick, Gimenez and other politicians may soon be snipping through the regulatory brush for a way to satisfy some of their most vocal constituents.

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