The View from My Seat archives


Published July 21, 2020


Haircut preparations

Follow CDC guidelines to get a haircut without getting virus

By Ernie Williamson / The Bulletin

It’s been a bad hair year.

When the coronavirus arrived, I promised myself that I wouldn’t risk sitting in a barber’s chair.

But who knew the pandemic would last 5 months with no end in sight? I have kept my promise, but I am wavering.

In the morning, when I look into the mirror after a restless night’s sleep, I am startled. I see what only can be described as coronavirus hair. Strands of hair rage out of control in a scraggly mess. I think it’s time.

But, later in the day, after combing it and getting rid of the snarls and tangles, I start liking the hair long.

After all, it covers up the bald spot and disguises the receding hairline.

What’s more, it reminds me of my youth when I had long hair while protesting the Vietnam War. Weeks later the Army cut almost all of it off.

Since I am retired, there is no real pressure to get a haircut. Only my wife complains, and she has gleefully volunteered to perform the deed for me. She, however, does only one style: Buzz it all off.

I have had this hair style (except for the gray) for almost 50 years, and I am reluctant to change, if for no other reason but to win one skirmish against aging.

Should I decide on a DIY cut, there is plenty of help online. The number of Google searches for “how to cut your own hair” has multiplied tenfold and YouTube has tutorials.

And there is also a virtual haircut industry that didn’t exist until several months ago.

You Probably Need a Haircut (YPNAH) has a simple pitch. For a starting rate of $18, you can pick from two dozen freelance barbers to walk you through the ins and outs of the self-cut in a video chat.

If you desire a new hairstyle, there are apps where you can upload your picture and see yourself with different styles and colors.
But be warned: There are more than 50,000 DIY haircut photos on Instagram, many of them disastrous or comical.

I admit to being more skittish about going to the barber than most of you folks. That’s because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says I am at high risk since I am over 65 with an underlying condition.

And I live in Pearland, which has more positive Covid-19 cases than any city in Brazoria County.

Because I am high risk, I have researched the state’s guidelines for getting a haircut without getting Covid-19. Here are the highlights:

-It isn’t possible to keep social distance from your barber or stylist, but work stations must be six feet apart and must be sanitized after each visit.

-Shops are advised to screen all workers and customers for temperature and symptoms.

-Customers are required to wash their hands.

-Workers can refuse to serve anybody they suspect to be sick.

-It is recommended that everyone wear a mask.

-Workers must wear gloves.

-Appointments should be scheduled in advance so shops can limit the number of people in the building at a time.

-Walk-in clients and those waiting for appointments should wait in cars or outside.

-Clients cannot bring extra people, including children.

Despite the four pages of rules, this high-risk, long-haired potential client is still hesitant to visit the barber. There are 16,000 licensed barbers in Texas, and it would be my luck that I would find the barber who went to a July Fourth gathering, then ignored the state’s rules.

So, I recognize that the day of reckoning is coming, but it won’t be today or tomorrow.
In the meantime, what do I do about these eyebrows?

(Ernie Williamson welcomes reader input. Please contact Ernie at Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)