Haircuts Go Underground, While Safe Barbershops May Go Broke, Says @FuzeBarberShop Owner Tosti | Newtown News of Interest |

The owner of a popular Newtown barbershop said the coronavirus closures are severely impacting his business, and he fears he'll have to close permanently if the state won't soon approve guidance to allow them to safely reopen.


Fuze owner Nick Tosti told Patch he's worried the business won't make it if the closures extend through the summer.


Fuze, located in the Village at Newtown Shopping Center, still must pay rent, despite not having a single customer since mid-March. He said the landlord will defer payments to be paid back later in the year, but he's hesitant to take on more debt only to return in an unpredictable atmosphere.


"If it stays the way it is, we could be looking at July or August" for a reopening, Tosti said. "We would be finished by then. I just don't know how we could recover from all the back debt."


Tosti and other industry leaders are pushing for salons and barbershops to be reopened under the "yellow" phase of the governor's coronavirus mitigation plan, "which we feel is totally responsible and safe."


He said he and other salon owners have been communicating with state officials to push for measures they believe will safeguard the public health, while allowing them to operate.


At Fuze, here's what you can expect [if, and when, it reopens]:


  • For one, there won't be a waiting room. All services will be by appointment-only, and the door will remain locked. When customers arrive for an appointment, they'll be permitted inside once the stylist is ready for them.


  • All customers will have their temperature taken at the door, Tosti said. Plus, all customers will have to use the provided hand sanitizer.


  • Capacity will be reduced, and all stylists will be wearing masks. Customers will be wearing masks, too, Tosti said. (The mask may have to be briefly removed when the barber is cutting certain parts of the head or around the ears, he acknowledged.)


  • All chairs and tools will be sanitized between each customer.


"We want to everyone to be safe. We're not trying to put anyone in a situation where we're opening up too soon," he said. But, he added, it seems time for a reopening with specific safety guidelines in place.


"Underground cuts are happening everywhere," Tosti said. "Is it safer for me to do this in someone's kitchen or at my barbershop?"