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NY Removes 'Archaic' Measure That Kept Hair Salons, Barbershops Closed On Sundays

New York has amended an “archaic law” that prohibited barbershops from operating on Sundays.
New York has amended an “archaic law” that prohibited barbershops from operating on Sundays. Photo Credit: Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

New York has amended an “archaic law” that prohibited barbershops from operating on Sundays.

This week, legislation was signed into law that will give local New York hair salons and barber shops the option of being open to customers on Sunday as many businesses continue recovering financially from the pandemic.

Before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on Tuesday, July 13, it was a misdemeanor to provide a haircut or shave to customers on Sundays, though it was rarely, if ever, enforced.

Previously, the law said that "any person who carries on or engages in the business of shaving, hair cutting or other work of a barber on the first day of the week, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined ... or be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not less than 10 days, nor more than 25 days.”

“Barbershops and salons, like all small businesses, have faced significant, unprecedented and strenuous challenges during the coronavirus pandemic,” Sen. Joseph Griffo, who introduced the bill, said.

“By removing outdated and unnecessary laws such as this, these businesses will be provided with an additional opportunity to recover financially as we work to rebuild our local and state economies.”

Upstate Assemblyman Billy Jones also made note that some businesses, including hair salons and barber shops, were disproportionately impacted financially by being forced to shut down for months during the pandemic.

“Like many other industries and professions, barbers and hairdressers have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. From having to close their doors during the early months of the pandemic to adopting enhanced safety measures, hairstylists have faced unprecedented challenges to continue serving our communities," he said. 

"While the prohibition on barbering on Sundays is loosely enforced, I spearheaded this legislation to ensure the decision to be open lies in the hands of the business owner, and not an unnecessary and outdated state law. Now that the executive has signed this into law, barbershops and hairdressers across New York will be able to freely operate on Sundays.”

Cuomo took a passing shot at the former legislation as he signed the new bill lifting the prohibition on Sunday shaves.

“This is the very definition of an archaic and meaningless law that makes little to no sense in the 21st century,” Cuomo said. “While not routinely enforced, I’m more than happy to sign this repeal into law and allow these businesses to determine what days they choose to operate.”

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