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Titania Dennis
Credit: COURTESY OF TITANIA DENNIS

No more haircuts: Stylist says closing salons is right thing to do to stop COVID-19

It's said that the beauty industry does well in an economic downturn. Some economists even calling it recession-proof. But does COVID-19 upend that theory?

Under the statewide closure order meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, hair salons and barbers are shut down.

Titania Dennis runs a salon near Kent-Meridian High School and has been in the business for 23 years. She wonders if she's going to make it through this downturn. But she says she would have closed up her shop no matter what -- for good reason.

Here's what she told me:

My grandparents raised me since I was 11 months old. Both my parents were addicts. So my grandmother died in 2011 and she was 93. So she lived a wonderful life. And since the last four years, my grandfather has been with me in my home with me and my husband and my children, my grandkids. And he has Alzheimer's and he's 88.

My immune system has always been a little sketchy, so I've always like made clients reschedule, asked them not to come to the salon sick. Always sanitize that kind of thing. But once this came about, I've gotten just more on it. I have to protect myself, my grandkids, my grandfather. I also have a son who's immuno-compromised. He's had two heart surgeries and he has a blood clot. So it's just one of those things where we're just more on it.

I remember when Boeing laid off all those people and all that was going on. People still want to get services. I don't know what that is. I think it is, if you look better, you feel better kind of mentality. I don't think in some cases it is vanity. People feel better when they look better.

I have faith in my clients. I have longevity with my clients. And I'm grateful for that. I'm blessed with that. I love them. They love me. We're like a family relationship. But I do I feel like there will be a bounce back. Absolutely, I do.

I've had clients call me, but I'm adamant about not working. I refused to break the ban because I refused to put my family in danger. Yes, it is financial. But if I could tell anybody who's in my beauty industry anything, please follow the mandate, please.

When this first broke, people were like, 'Oh, it only affects old people.' But guess what? When you say that to me, that's a disrespectful thing because I take care of someone who is elderly. I have to protect him.

Even once [the stay-at-home order] is lifted, we still need to be cautious. My clients will tell you I'm the germophobe. So I'm the person who cleans down the seat on the planes. I have my little bag of, you know, Lysol and bleach wipes. And I wipe everything down when I fly. I wear a mask when I fly because that's just recycled air. I'm still that person.

Because I do believe we're gonna come into a new normal after this is over.