Angry barbers and hair stylists speak out at Southaven Board of Aldermen meeting

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — A crowd of angry barbers and hair stylists went to Board of Aldermen meeting in Southaven, Mississippi, Tuesday night.

The group is upset because their businesses have to stay closed while Gov. Tate Reeves has allowed a majority of others across the state to reopen.

“Some of us are losing our properties because we can’t work, and we are desperate,” one salon owner said.

“It’s just not fair,” another said. “It’s like we’re systematically being discriminated against.”

Gov. Reeves said it isn’t safe for barbershops and hair salons to open right now, but Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite disagreed.

He told the crowd at Tuesday’s meeting that those businesses should be open with certain health requirements and social distancing guidelines in place. The crowd applauded his comments.

“If we were not under the governor’s order, salons, barbershops and gyms would be open right now,” Mayor Musselwhite said. “I’m on your team. I’m pulling the train. I’m going to do everything I can to get you back open.”

The mayor said he asked Gov. Reeves to release Southaven from the statewide Safer at Home order and allow the city to make its own decisions. That hasn’t happened, but Musselwhite hopes the governor will let barbershops and hair salons open in the coming days.

“I believe the governor is listening,” Musselwhite said. “We cannot continue to be paralyzed by fear and let national, state and local economies be destroyed. We’ve got to get government out of the way and let people get back to their lives. It’s time now.”

The people at Tuesday’s meeting are ready because they’re struggling.

“It’s darkest before the dawn,” Musselwhite said.

But they’re afraid of what might happen if they have to sit in the dark much longer.

Musselwhite said he also wants tattoo parlors to be able to open again.

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