Shear madness in the time of COVID

I'm trying to find a place where they will cut my wife's hair.

Let me explain by way of an email I sent to a good friend that describes what we have gone through (e-mail headers and other info removed for privacy):

Hi Paul,

I'd like your opinion on something.

On June 13 Bobbie and I got haircuts at Rob Roy at White City [in Shrewsbury. Mass.]. Bobbie told them ahead of time that she can't wear a mask due to a medical condition (asthma), but they said it was mandatory, so she relented. During her haircut she had trouble breathing, so with her fingers she pushed the mask away from her face a little bit so she could take in more air. She did her best to wear the mask under the circumstances. She then scheduled appointments for her and me for July 11, and left, whereupon I got out of the car and went in to get my haircut with no issues. Bobbie also left with them a paper copy of this statement which we each carry with us in our wallet/purse to try to educate the mask fascists:

Today Bobbie got this e-mail from Debra Cooke, the CEO of Rob Roy:

Subject: Rob Roy Hair Salon Appointment

Hi Bobby,

Hope you are doing well. I wanted to reach out in regards to your haircut appointment on Sat, July 11th. At this time I think it’s best to cancel your appointment and reschedule for when it’s no longer necessary to wear masks in the salon. When you came in on June 13th the staff was very uncomfortable with the distance you had between the mask and your face. The mask is needed to keep us safe right now and its our policy to wear them at this time and wear them properly. I did receive the information you left for me but unfortunately that is related to essential businesses, we are not considered an essential business therefore it does not apply. I understand due to health concerns it’s hard for you to wear a mask and I’m sorry for that and I sympathize with you but I can’t put my staff at risk. This is a very hard time for all of us and we are concerned for our own health as well as our clients health. So at this time I will be cancelling your appointment for Saturday, July 11th and when masks are no longer needed we will call you to reschedule.

Thank you for understanding.



As I understand this e-mail, Bobbie is banned from Rob Roy until Rob Roy decides to drop the mask requirement. That could be months, maybe extending into next year.

Hair salons are Phase II Step 2 businesses, and the latest guidelines from the state (June 19) include:



Updated as of June 19, 2020

‚óŹ     Require face coverings for all workers and customers, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability

Clearly, it was the intent of the bureaucrats to extend the medical conditions exemption beyond "essential" businesses to all businesses as they reopened, so Debra Cooke's statement that the medical exemption does not apply to Rob Roy is an outright lie.

On June 11, after our Rob Roy haircuts, Bobbie checked with Great Clips at the other end of the parking lot, and they were even more rigid than Rob Roy (at the time).

Today I called Supercuts (Shrewsbury location) and they also do not allow for medical condition exemptions. The nice receptionist who answered the phone told me they even refuse to cut the hair of 2-, 3-, or 4-year-old kids who are too fidgety to keep the masks on their faces.

So I've exhausted the supply of "chain" hair salons that I know about. I haven't a clue how to find a mom-and-pop hair salon that has not been frightened into rigidity about masks well beyond what the state requires.

I find it hard to believe that the entire hair-cutting industry in Massachusetts has decided that people with certain medical conditions, such as asthma, will be unable to get haircuts for the foreseeable future. But that may well be the case.

Any suggestions?

So far, my friend Paul is stumped, and he's a bright, legally sharp guy.  He's still thinking about it.  I've been asking other friends for suggestions; they've come up dry.

A reply to an e-mail I sent to Great Clips corporate said they follow CDC guidelines, and I would have to check with individual salons.  So I went on a multi-state search.

At Great Clips in Nashua, N.H., you must wear a mask.  No exemption for medical conditions, State of New Hampshire requirements.  The Great Clips locations in Rhode Island are still closed.  At Supercuts in Putnam, Conn., masks are mandatory, and the receptionist at Great Clips in Enfield, Conn. volunteered that the salon would lose its license if they cut the hair of a maskless customer.

My wife says she will cut her own hair.  She hasn't done that since 1974, and I know what's coming.  She will attempt it with the best tools we have in the house, give up, and ask me to cut it for her.  Planning ahead, I expect I will be buying a home haircutting kit so I won't end up butchering her hair when that inevitable moment arrives.

Nick Chase is a retired but still very active writer, editor, and webmaster and records classical music concerts for radio broadcast.  You can read more of his work on the American Thinker website and at