KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Barbershops and hair salons sensed something wasn't quite right when clients began to cancel appointments during the time of the year they're usually overbooked.
These days, barber Draque Murff, owner of Draque’s Barbershop, would rather see sharp lines on heads instead of the ones on charts showing the rise in COVID-19 cases.
"These are one of the jobs where I have to come to the shop to get money, so there's no way to cut a hair over Zoom or anything like that," Murff said.
He set up shop on West 39th Street near Main Street in 2011 but wasn't sure the shop would survive lockdown at the start of the pandemic.
"By the grace of God, we're still in business today. Because I don't know if we could do that again," Murff said.
Business picked back up until right around Thanksgiving.
"So, I've had a lot of people tell me that their kids or the relatives have gotten COVID, and so just as a precautionary measure, they felt it best that they canceled their appointment," Murff said.
And the cancellations keep coming, one of Murff's co-workers — Lalo The Barber — had at least four people back out of a fresh cut on Friday.
"People feel the way they feel, some people don't want the kids here," Lalo said. "And they have situations at home. So, you know, I understand. It's very understandable. But at the same time, it's unfortunate for all of us."
The feeling is mutual at Studio Eight the Salon in Overland Park where stylist Rebecca Dawson also noticed cancellations pick up around the holidays.
"It's really day by day," Dawson said. "It's really hard to look too far ahead because things change so fast and drastically so quickly."
She adds many in her industry are bracing to juggle a slew of rebookings, but they'd rather deal with that than the current situation.
"This has taken a toll on all of us. You know, every cancellation is money that we lose that week, and when you're self-employed, it takes quite a bit of a hit," Dawson said.
With public health leaders urging people to mask up, get vaccinated and boosted, the hope is COVID-19 cases will go down and clients will come back.