Danielle Strano, the owner of Wicked Cutz on Darby Road in Haverford.


    Steve Gordon came from Downingtown to have his haircut at Giovanni’s Media Barber Shop in Media on Wednesday.


    Nichole Missino, owner of Giovanni’s Media Barber Shop, cuts the hair of a young man Wednesday.

  • Front Page: May 21, 2020


    Felicia Stella cuts Josh Hogan’s hair. Hogan came from Bucks County to get his haircut at Giovanni’s Media Barber Shop. “It’s the first time I’ve been in a barbershop in a long long time. My wife cuts my hair,” said Hogan. “I think what these guys is doing is good.”


    A customer has his temperature taken before entering Giovanni’s Media Barber Shop Wednesday.


    John Churchman Smith of Media makes an appointment to get his haircut at Giovanni’s Media Barber Shop on Olive Street.


    Nichole Missino, owner of Giovanni’s Media Barber Shop, has re-opened her business.

MEDIA – Slowly and subtly, Delaware County barber shops are doing business again despite the governor’s order forbidding it.

In Media, a few blocks from the borough offices, Giovanni’s Barber Shop was back in operation offering full services Wednesday.

Owner Nichole Missino has her fingers crossed that her new, relatively low-key approach and detail to safety and sanitation procedures to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus will work.

A few weeks ago, Missino backed down from a very public re-opening after a showdown with Media Police Chief Martin Wusinich. Giovanni’s instead hosted an open-up rally on the steps of the establishment.

“There’s been other shops that have opened across the state since then and they’re doing OK,” Missino said. “And we have legal representation now. So, I feel a lot more comfortable about what we’re doing now. It’s a little different. I haven’t heard a peep.”

Wusinich said Wednesday he was aware of the opening. Once again, the veteran of 42 years in law enforcement was unwilling to share his game plan. The chief hadn’t cited Giovanni’s as of early Wednesday afternoon.

“Let’s just say that we are aware,” Wusinich said. “She’s made it very clear that she’s aware of the ramifications that she could face from the state and others. The last I heard the Realtors are allowed to reopen, and that was it. As of today, as best as I understand it, a barbershop is not to be open and of course she did do such. There are consequences associated with violating that state order with the governor. There are consequences associated with that from the state. She’s made it clear that she’s aware of the consequences for doing that. I guess she’s prepared to face that.”

The consequences of reopening include the possibility of being cited, or fined and having the barber’s license stripped by the State Board of Barber Examiners. Missino said that a group called Citizens Against Abusive Power Systems has provided help and resources to aid in the reopening.

In Havertown, Danielle Strano, owner and stylist at Wicked Cutz, quietly was at work at her Darby Road barber shop.

Strano appreciates the safety of customers. Like Giovanni’s, she takes temperatures of customers at the door. Strano has face shields, masks and hand sanitizers for patrons and herself.

Everything customers contact, including the chairs, is wiped down between cuts. The capes and hair cutting utensils are put under UV light sanitizers to kill germs.

Beyond those measures, there’s another germ-killing spray, special shields for kids and plenty of space in the shop to spread out.

“I’m just trying to do it safely,” Strano said. “I’ve applied for an exemption, I’ve applied for loans, unemployment. I’ve been denied for everything. Everything. I just can’t afford to do this anymore. I tried to hold out as long as possible but I’m going to lose my business if I don’t start bringing in an income.”

There was no shortage of customers at Giovanni’s, a group that included Steve Gordon, an insurance agent in Media and his 10-year-old son, who just completed fourth grade.

Gordon, who hails from Downingtown, and his boy were in and out faster than you could say, two, please.

“All business should be open with protections like they have,” Gordon said. “This is the new normal, unfortunately, but I think it’s just a total political thing right now. I want to support the small businesses. I support people opening their businesses to try to feed their families and pay their bills. It’s unbelievable it’s come to this. The poor people who have lost their jobs, there’s no end in sight to it. It’s very frustrating.”

The Gordons were required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken at the door. If the thermometer reads 100 or more, Giovanni’s will politely decline your business.

John Churchman Smith, who resides a few blocks from Giovanni’s, grabbed the first available appointment. A retired lawyer in his late 80s, he doesn’t feel at risk after assessing the safety precautions Missino has taken.

“I get my hair cut here all the time,” Churchman Smith said. “I’m sure she’s going to take every effort to have sanitary conditions. Opening everywhere, I think, is a very dangerous thing to do now because I think this is a contagious disease and it’s easy to pass around. The fatalities are up. I think we’ve got to be really cautious. And I’m sure she is taking every precaution. That’s why I came.”

In Newtown Square, Lou’s Barber Shop was discreetly cutting hair on a limited scale. The proprietors reside at the location.

Adrienne Marofsky, a spokeswoman for Delaware County Council, said the order was issued by the governor and the county does not have the authority to lift or amend the order.

“The governor has stated that there will be consequences to opening early and illegally, including the loss of CARES Act and other relief funding through the state, revocation of business licenses, and the loss of insurance coverage for businesses failing to operate in accordance with the law,” she said in a statement.

“The county also does not have the authority to enforce the order. The state and local law enforcement have the authority to enforce this,” she said. “Delaware County Council has been and will continue to do everything within its power to bring Delaware County to a ‘yellow phase’ and begin to ease restrictions in both a safe and timely manner that does not jeopardize the lives of our residents.”

“If I kept my business closed any longer, I wasn’t going to be open anymore,” Missino said. “It was going to be closed doors forever. We’re ready. It was time to open up. I’m happy to be back. I’m happy to be cutting hair. I’m happy to see my clients.”

For lawmen like Wusinich, there’s a job to do.

“We’ll see how it plays out,” he said.

For customers, there’s a risk they’ve got to be willing to take.

“I really need a haircut,” Churchman Smith said. “It’s either a haircut or I’ve got to get a violin or something.”

Times Staff Writer Kathleen E. Carey also contributed to this story.

You are watching: Some Delaware County hair salons reopen in defiance of state mandate. Info created by Bút Chì Xanh selection and synthesis along with other related topics.