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Auburn barbers make final cuts ahead of mandatory COVID-19-related closure

Auburn barbers make final cuts ahead of mandatory COVID-19-related closure


AUBURN — When Ralph Cannizzo heard barbershops statewide were set to close due to a state mandate in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, he wanted to see his regular barber, Fred Drury.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring all barbershops, hair and nail salons, hair removal businesses, tattoo or piercing parlors and other personal care services to close to the public 8 p.m. Saturday to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The directive also includes estheticians, nail technicians and cosmetologists.

Cannizzo, who came into Fred's Barber Cuts Saturday morning, said his hair reached the length when he normally gets it cut, and he wanted to support Drury. Drury, who has run the business for over a decade, said he first heard about the order from customers Friday and then later saw an email from the state department about the mandate. He doesn't have many alternative sources of income.

"I've got four kids at home and it's going to be a challenge, but we'll get through it," he said. "We've got plenty of food. We won't starve, we're just going to have bills that are going to pile pretty high and that's going to be the issue." 

Before Cannizzo came in, Drury noted business had been slow the last few days except Friday, when he was busy largely with regular customers. He guessed that was because of the order. His plan Saturday was to put in as many hours as he could and hope people who know of the closing swing by the shop in time.

Drury sanitized the shop's doorknobs and "wiped down everything" that morning. While he's not personally concerned about catching the virus, he took precautions for the sake of others. 

"You're doing your best to make sure other people are not going to get anything from some other way," Drury said.

After Cannizzo arrived, he said he didn't plan on making many stops besides the barbershop that day so he didn't risk receiving the illness.

"I have some medical issues, so I'm trying to stay away from everybody that I can," Cannizzo said.

Once the haircut was finished, Cannizzo gave Drury $40 for a $10 haircut and told him to keep the change.

Other barbershops or salons in downtown Auburn Saturday were only letting people in by appointment. Danny Figueroa of Flawless Cutz said he had been taking appointments only for over a week. He said he will simply "wait it out" until the business can open again.

"If we can't be here, we can't make money, right?" he said.

While preparing to take care of a customer, Figueroa said "we're good" unless the closure lasts over a month. Jose Reyes, another barber at the shop, said he has some money saved up.

"That's the good thing about this business, it's a cash business, and you see your money every day, so it's like, (if) you're being responsible for it then, it will put you in a better place, (for) the next couple months at least," he said.

Reyes had some advice to impart.

"Wash your hands!," he said.

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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Education and City Reporter

Hello, my name is Kelly Rocheleau, and I cover the education and city beats for The Citizen and I've been writing for the paper since December 2016.

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