Relief in Trinidad and Tobago as Phase 4 opens

“Happy.” So exclaimed San Juan hairdresser Joan Edwards, at Joan’s Beauty Salon at Second Street, yesterday.

Joseph Ramroop, a barber at King of Kingz barbershop at Endeavour, Chaguanas, cuts Sharaz Mohammed’s hair yesterday. (Photo: Ishmael Salandy)

Although she had only seen two clients by 1 p.m. yesterday, Edwards said she had started getting bored at home. On Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had said barbers, hairdressers, spas and domestic workers could report for duty from yesterday.

On Saturday morning, Edwards had anticipated the “good news”, after being told to shut her doors by the State from March 18 to May month end. So she slipped in early, and, began the tedious process of cleaning, sanitising, storing water and hand sanitiser for prospective clients.

An upbeat Edwards said: “We had to obey the guidelines. It was the best response for me, and, the country. I lost about $6,000. over two months. I felt Rowley would have said we could open up, so I cleaned up. I had two clients. One woman wanted a dye and the other person a wash and twist.”

“Thank God, I have a husband (David James) who is a good provider. We were able to get through with whatever small money we had.”

– Hairdresser Joan Edwards

Edwards said she is not fazed because her regular clientele will contact her. Even walk-ins will pop by for a suite of services ranging from cuts ($60), steams ($140), dyes ($80 to $100) and braids ($300 and up).

Edwards used her “downtime” to bond with her grandchildren and tend to her domestic chores.

Aranjuez resident Kendra Boodoo said: “I am relieved. Not only that, Joan is such a joy to be around. She is knowledgeable and caring.”

Her colleague, nail technician Vernella Hercules, said, she, too, was “excited” to be back at work.

An aerial view of Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo: london.ac.uk)

Tending to her cop client, Hercules, a mother of one, said: “She is my first blessed client. Her acrylic nails cost about $200. I lost about $8,000 over two months. I expect clients to call. I know I will get some walk ins. Things will pick up.”

‘Pandemic is the worst’

Sharing Hercules’ view that business will improve was Bourg Mulatresse barber Trevor Gibbs.

Gibbs, 78, a stalwart at the establishment, had just returned from playing Play Whe. When he stepped into Edwards’ kiosk, the “barber shop” came alive. Tete-a-tetes hinged on Covid-19 hampers, Venezuelans at the borders, sex and politicians’ rantings.

Gibbs said: “I missed the 25 (Morocoy). But I will catch them another time. I had one gentleman who came for a cut ($50). I lost about $3,000. But I had my pension.”

Asked if he had experienced anything close to a pandemic, Gibbs said: “No. This is the worst.”

Reminiscing on his adolescence in Usine Ste Madeleine, Gibbs said: “I was about 14 during World War II (1939 to 1945). We had a ration card like a bingo card. When you got a pound of rice, or a pound of salted butter, they would put an X. Longer queues than outside Living Water Community (Frederick Street).”

Gibbs added: “No electricity. As the siren wailed, all flambeaux and kerosene lamps went out. The lampshades had the words ‘Home Sweet Home’ etched on them. If you had a gas light, you were a big shot. But people were more happy, back then, than now.”

–Republished from the Trinidad Express