Gov. Mike DeWine’s order for all hair and nail salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors in Ohio to close indefinitely on March 18 brought a rush of customers who had hurriedly scheduled haircut appointments late that afternoon.

The order was among several the governor has issued in the past 10 days to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Restaurants and bars were ordered to close or limit business to carryout and delivery on March 15.

One hair stylist described the start of the final day as somewhat slow. The rush began around 3:30 p.m., said Dina Martinez, manager of Sport Clips Haircuts at City Centre of Avon, 35925 Detroit Road. A team of four hair stylists at the Avon location of Sport Clips, cranked out 64 haircuts March 18 – 50 in the last five hours of business. On the same day last year, there were 53 haircuts at Sport Clips, Martinez said.

And the last guy in the chair? Avon Lake resident Gerald Phillips, who came in shortly before closing for his first haircut since January.

“I can be cheap, frugal and a tightwad,” Phillips jokingly said. “I usually get my hair cut at Great Clips, but the ones in Avon and Avon Lake already were closed when I got there. So I came here. It was packed, but I figured it was worth the wait. I needed a haircut. She (hair stylist Melanie Ritter) did a good job.”

He tipped Ritter $40 for the $20 haircut.

“I knew she was going to be unemployed for a while, so I thought I’d help her out,” Phillips said.

Martinez was monitoring the shop’s online scheduling system following DeWine’s announcement.

“Right around 3:30, the computer screen just filled up with people scheduling appointments online,” she said. “It was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like this. This is super sad.”

Martinez said she would spend time at home with her 4-year-old daughter while she’s off work.

“I can’t wait to see what happens with all of this,” she said.

Grace Campbell, a hair stylist for about five years, called the sudden influx of customers “wild.”

“I remember hearing about Y2K when I was about 6 years old, and later anthrax soon after 9/11, but this is crazy,” she said.

Colin Coughlin of Elyria was among those getting a haircut.

“This is like something in a movie,” he said. “It’s weird. And we’re living it.”

Coughlin, 28, is an online banker for Key Bank and is serving customers on his computer at home.

“The government has to do what they have to do,” Coughlin said. “It’s about stopping the spread of the virus.”

Contact this reporter at msakal@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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