WINCHESTER — Going down National Avenue on Wednesday around noon, pedestrians and drivers alike could spot Michael Cuthrell giving Mac McGrath a haircut on McGrath’s porch.

Cuthrell, also known as the “dreadlock barber,” wore gloves and a face mask as he shaved along the side of McGrath’s head. McGrath patiently sat on a wooden stool while Cuthrell did his careful work.

The scene captured how an ordinary task like getting a haircut has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 23, the Winchester barber shop where Cuthrell works, Eagan & Company, closed following an order from Gov. Ralph Northam that certain businesses, such as hair salons, bowling alleys and gyms, close temporarily to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Since then, some of Eagan & Company’s barbers have gone to the homes of 40 to 50 customers to give haircuts, said owner Travis Eagan.

Cuthrell is currently the shop’s only barber doing home visits now. He gives most of his haircuts outside. He even did one haircut in the woods. Cuthrell said he disinfects his supplies and equipment after every haircut. He also uses a different cape on each customer.

As of Wednesday, the shop is allowed to visit customer homes, based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Eagan said.

“We’re going to do this until we’re told not to, and we’re keeping in touch with the proper authorities,” Eagan said.

Cuthrell is getting 100% of the profits from each haircut he does while the shop is closed, Eagan added.

The shop pre-screens clients by asking them if they have any symptoms associated with the virus and if they have been traveling.

Eagan asked his employees who aren’t doing home visits to file for unemployment. Barber shops didn’t initially qualify for benefits, but they now do under the $2 trillion stimulus package recently passed by Congress for coronavirus aid. Eagan added that he may apply for a small business loan if the virus prolongs the shop’s closure.

Cutting hair is Cuthrell’s sole source of income to support his wife and two young children. He has been barbering for 10 years.

Going to people’s homes chews into his profits because he has to pay for gas. He also can’t be as productive because he has to spend time on the road. He said he has traveled from Boyce to Stephens City to Berryville.

McGrath, a senior at Shenandoah University studying exercise science, said on Wednesday that it had been two months since his last haircut. He normally gets a cut every week to two weeks, but the coronavirus situation has forced him to prioritize other things, such as getting groceries, keeping his house clean and taking care of his mother in Maryland.

“I feel great,” he said about getting a haircut. These past two months are the longest McGrath has gone without some type of hair maintenance since he began getting regular haircuts about seven years ago.

“You look good, you feel good,” McGrath said. “It’s a freak of nature trying to take care of this,” he said about his hair.

— Contact Anna Merod at

amerod@winchesterstar.com

(26) comments

swizzlecuts

I REALLY hate seeing all these negative comments about barbering from people that dont know any better. To you people, barbers just cut hair.. What you dont know is that we have to learn and practice just as much disease prevention, microbes, pathogens, etc.. as a dentist or nurse. We work with razor blades, blood and sick people EVERY DAY. If a barber gets sick, a barber doesnt work. So yes, for the most part, we practice civic and personal safety on a daily basis so things like this arent new to us. I personally disinfect and dispose of ANYTHING I use on a client IMMEDIATELY after a service...from the clippers, to the gloves, to the capes, to the chair. If YOUR barber doesnt, then you need a new barber.

Barber/stylist

Being a barber stylist for over 35 years i know no matter what your Governor says it is against State barber and cosmetology boards guidlines to preform services outside of a state inspected facility. Look it up ,It is also against the law through the health department ,we have strict sanitary rules and there is no way that is being followed! You must work within a state (inspected ) sanitary work environment , there are strict rules on how that has to be set up. He will lose his license ,if he has one...unless he has called and has had special circumstances through the barber and or cosmetology board, not his governor. Where i live all state boards are closed as are shops because of the 6ft rule. These types of situations are the reason this will not be over anytime soon.

I would like to get back to work i care about my clients health and my own. How will you feel when (not if) he gets infected and how many people will he infect including the family of these people. Wake up, stay home!

swizzlecuts

Sorry but you're incorrect. A licensed INDIVIDUAL barber may cut hair wherever he or she pleases... What youre talking about in your comment are board rules to receive a SALON/SHOP LICENSE (18 VAC 41-20-120)..

jo

This is wrong! period. the DOPR has said can do, however Gov. Northrom executive order states maintaining 6 ft distance no matter where the actual haircut happens. no matter, its clearly irresponsible behavior. article states 40 to 50 housecalls were done in a short period of time. i would hate to think how much covid 19 transmission could happen in that amount of people. i am a nurse and a hairstylist and i implore people not to do this. remember we are trying to flatten the curve. buck up, sign up for unemployment like everyone else. getting your hair done , its just not worth the risk!!

Barber/stylist

Amen

Tsktsk Shameshame

This is against the law. DPOR did not give him permission I spoke to them. Pay your employment taxes when you do work then you can collect unemployment benefits like everyone else. He’s not a Licensed Barber. Eagan & Company promoting this as allowed hopefully they look at your licenses also. Those gloves look pretty expensive to replace for every customer

NKBELLA

It might not be against the law. I found on the Virginia.gov site under faq's for the Stay at Home Order: "Providers with a barber or cosmetology license can provide one-on-one services in their clients’ homes during this 30 day period. Providers must, to the extent possible, practice social distancing and take health precautions, including washing your hands and sanitizing all tools. To protect yourself and your clients, stay home at the first sign of a cold or fever." Found at virginia.gov/coronavirus/faq/ (scroll down the page, there is a specific question of "I provide barbering or cosmetology services. Can I continue to serve my clients in their home, even though my salon will be closed during this emergency?"

Spock Here

You can spread this stuff even though you don't have symptoms and by the time people display symptom they could have spread to many. Look at that little town in Georgia. A couple of huggy kissy funerals, and pow.

Harker2345

I found this too. The last part is a problem since we know that COVID can be passed to other people even when there are no symptoms.

Harker2345

The governor's FAQ about his executive order says providing hair services in homes is allowed. It seems dangerous if we are supposed to do social distancing Here is the text of the FAQ:

"Providers with a barber or cosmetology license can provide one-on-one services in their clients’ homes during this 30 day period. Providers must, to the extent possible, practice social distancing and take health precautions, including washing your hands and sanitizing all tools. To protect yourself and your clients, stay home at the first sign of a cold or fever."

https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/faq/

swizzlecuts

You're completely wrong and clearly have no idea what youre talking about... 1, As a barber or cosmetologist, youre an independent contractor, which means you CAN'T file for unemployment and you don't "pay in" to any employment taxes.. 2, I just looked him up.. He's licensed and has been since 2012. and lastly, the gloves hes wearing ARE BARBERS gloves (Elegance Barber Gloves). they cost $10 for a box of 100, so no, theyre not expensive. I wish people that were as clueless as you stayed out of stuff that didnt concern or affect them

redsox

It's fantastic that everybody commenting has their own personal opinions about this being dangerous. In the meantime, as quoted in the article:

"As of Wednesday, the shop is allowed to visit customer homes, based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Eagan said."

DPOR is the state agency that regulates barbers. I'll take their decision over internet-commentor opinions.

ShruggingAtlas

I'm sure the concern trolls on here will report him and he will have to stop. "Progressives" don't like people doing for themselves, they want everyone under their thumb. If you don't like the way he does business, don't patronize him or those that work for him. He's giving out harcuts, he's not working in a Chinese virus lab. Get a grip people!

Spock Here

It's against the law and is enabling the spread of infection; you and Truthy call her up, go to the head of the line together, you two don't like science anyway. Cheerio!!

ShruggingAtlas

Not against the law, otherwise, he wouldn't be able to do it. Go wash your hands and find a hobby besides trying to ruin people's livelihoods.

Spock Here

Enjoy your ventilator experience....

ShruggingAtlas

Now you're wishing sickness on people, you stay classy!

Spock Here

Victimhood doesn't become you. It wasn't a "wish", it was a nod to inevitability if you think you won't get it by close encounters...

ShruggingAtlas

I pointed out your vitriol against those you don't agree with, nothing more. Get over yourself, you have no power over me or anyone else here.

DaWholeTruth

My wife & I are big fans of Michael! He's a top notch hair-cutter & we have both been using him for years prior to the pandemic. We were only just commenting that we were both going to likely look like trolls by the time we eventually got to see him again but this changes things! Michael rocks & is as creative & brilliant with hair as he is with his business sense!

Petejohn62

Poor thing...gas and travel is cutting into his profits😪😪😪 on a positive note..you're not alone pal

Spock Here

With all due respect, this is not creative. It is dangerous and the opposite of what we are supposed to be doing.

Petejohn62

exactly..go apply for temporary help unemployment

paulmiller

As photographed, the customer is not wearing a face mask, meaning that they could pass the virus to the barber in the form of droplets that would land on his cape, apron, and shoes. These virus molecules can live on clothes for several hours. The bottom line is that it is very irresponsible to think that a haircut is more important than doing the right thing by your family and community and staying home. The governor needs to be more explicit about these guidelines so that this isn't left to the judgment of people who might not understand the gravity of the situation. In fact, the tone of this article shows that the Star may not fully comprehend what we're up against here.

davism412

Hear, hear.

Harker2345

Agreed. These are hard times for many kinds of workers, but this is not social distancing or the kind of stay-at-home we need to flatten the curve. Frankly, the tone of the article surprised me too. There is a reason DC and MD do not allow this. Input from a medical / oublic health professional would have been helpful too. Also agree about the DIY PPE.

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