ORLANDO, Fla. – State Representative Daisy Morales (D- Orlando) applauds President Joe Biden’s decision to recruit barbershops and beauty salons in an effort to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. President Biden announced his “Shots at the Shop” initiative Tuesday afternoon.
President Biden shared in his speech:
“In the spirit of meeting people where they are, we’ll also be working with the Black Coalition Against COVID and other organizations to launch a new initiative called ‘Shots at the Shop.’ Barbershops, beauty shops are hubs of activity and information in Black and brown communities in particular, but in many communities across the nation.
“Local barbers, stylists, they become key advocates for vaccinations in their communities, offering information to customers, booking appointments for them, even using their own businesses as vaccination sites. We’re going to work with shops across the country to make an even bigger impact over the next month.”
Representative Morales, who sponsored the Barber Services bill (HB 855), which passed the Legislature and will next go to the Governor’s desk for signature, fully supports the initiative. HB 855 helps barbers get back into the workforce by allowing mobile services. “President Biden is right—barbershops and beauty salons are indeed high-traffic locations, especially in Black and brown communities.”
Barbershops’ Community Impact
Barbershops and beauty shops serve as community cornerstones. Some residents get their news as well as a good hairstyle there. These businesses provide more than just a good look–sometimes it’s a health concern. Richard de la Rosa, who owns His Barbershop on Landstreet in Orlando, stressed that point. “…It’s about grooming too. There are two senior living facilities in this area alone, plus we serve special needs clients and those who are homeless. For those living in the senior homes, when they don’t get groomed, their hair becomes matted.”
Morales’ Challenge to Biden: Add Some Star Power
These shops prove so valuable they spawned not only a movie franchise, but a spinoff, too: Ice Cube’s Barbershop trilogy, and Queen Latifah’s Beauty Shop.
With these films in mind, State Rep. Morales is challenging President Biden to do one better. “President Biden should recruit the Barbershop and Beauty Shop cast members to go on a national tour to really ramp up vaccinations,” said Morales. “Imagine having Queen Latifah, Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, or Common come to your barbershop or beauty shop. There’d be a line around the block. Celebrities usually tour the country to help boost election campaigns or get out the vote initiatives. Why not tour the barbershops and beauty salons to help save lives?”
Rep. Morales looks forward to Governor DeSantis signing her Barber Services bill, given his high regard for the importance of barbershops, and hopes he will embrace this kind of vaccination plan for Florida, encouraging barbershops to open their doors as vaccination sites.
“More importantly, these shops also serve as a valuable communication hub in the community, so it’s a great way to help curb vaccine hesitancy,” Representative Morales added. “When people in the community get the vaccine at the barbershop or beauty salon, they’ll encourage others to get it as well. We want to help Americans, especially Floridians, get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com