Inverness barbershop reaches agreement to stay closed

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

The Male Room, a full-service barbershop located at 620 Inverness Corners, has agreed to remain temporarily closed as of Friday, April 17 after initially announcing it would reopen in a controversial Facebook post that was shared April 14.

“We have reached an agreement with state and local governments not to reopen at this time in exchange for assurances that they will advocate on our behalf to reopen as soon as possible,” The Male Room’s voicemail greeting stated on April 17.

The original post, signed by owner Scott Farr, announced The Male Room would reopen April 17 at 10 a.m. despite Gov. Kay Ivey’s pleas with Alabamians to continue observing a stay-at-home order.

“With the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 virus has had on our community The Male Room was one of the many businesses forced to close back in mid-March,” the post stated. “And while we are extremely sensitive to the serious implications of the virus, we are (nonetheless) faced with an equally serious dilemma regarding the future viability of our business.”

The morning of April 17, Farr spoke to members of the media in front of his shop.

“This is not about a haircut,” he said. “This is about these people’s right to work.”

He said he had been in business for 12 years and that his landlord was gracious enough to give them a 2-month deferment on their lease.

“It’s going to take a long time to get back to normal anyway. The longer we wait, the tougher it’s going to be,” Farr said. “These are your neighbors. These are your family members.”

The barbershop was surrounded by supporters holding signs that read, “Open shops. We wear mask (sic). We sanitize hands. We allow 4 clients. Support Scott.” Another local barbershop owner showed up to express his support of Farr.

Barbershops are among the businesses included in a plan outlined by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth on April 17 to start reopening Alabama’s economy. The measure focuses first on retail, restaurants, childcare facilities and “close-contact services,” which entail barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo studios, tanning salons and waxing salons.

“They can operate safely, now,” Ainsworth said. “Our message is simple. The message about social distancing is spreading people out. The committee says it’s not fair for small businesses to be penalized.”

Ainsworth added that close-contact services should require employees to wear masks and only offer openings by appointment, but indicated he wouldn’t be afraid to get a haircut tomorrow if it were allowed.

In an updated Facebook post, The Male Room thanked their customers and everyone who had supported them.

“Please join us in urging Congress to get back in session and approve the funding so small businesses and workers alike can survive,” the post stated.