CHICAGO, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — If the Coronavirus has crimped your style, you’re not alone.
Illinois, now in its 16th day under Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive order to stay at home, has classified barber shops and hairdressers as ‘non-essential’ businesses, and as such, they have been ordered to stop operating. The Governor has said business owners who dare defy his order may invite a visit from local police, and could risk the state permanently yanking their license.
Pritzker held his 29th consecutive daily Coronavirus press conference on Monday afternoon. He’s remained rather busy during that stretch, but he said his barber has had some extra downtime.
“I have not had a haircut since before the stay at home rule was put in place,” Pritzker said. “I actually feel like I’m getting a little shaggy.”
“I’m going to turn into a hippie at some point here,” Pritzker joked.
A reporter asked the Governor how he was managing his hair after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reportedly shirked the state’s emergency rules and booked a private appointment with a hairdresser, who wore gloves and a face mask.
In a video skit Lightfoot’s office posted to Twitter last week, the mayor teased, “Debbie, getting your roots done is not essential.”
But when the publicity stunt was over, Lightfoot argued to television reporters that her need to look good on camera outweighed her obligation to lead by example.
“I’m the public face of this city,” Lightfoot retorted when asked about her mixed messaging. “I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye. I take my personal hygiene very seriously,” she said. “I felt like I needed to have a haircut.”
The politics of a pandemic have put scores of elected officials and their habits under the microscope, as reporters pepper them with questions about their own daily routines, their social distancing practices, and probe for the results of their own medical tests.
President Trump said on Saturday he won’t wear a face mask, even though the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines advising Americans to wear a face mask in public.
One day later, Governor Pritzker, a Democrat who has sparred publicly with the president over the federal response to the Coronavirus outbreak, opted to wear a face mask when he walked into his daily press conference.
“I’ve been wearing a mask when I go out,” Pritzker said on Sunday. “People should wear a mask. People should make a mask if you don’t have one already.”
On Monday, the Governor empathized with people who may not be able to buy their regular supply of makeup or other cosmetic supplies that have been sidelined as ‘non-essential’ during the pandemic.
“These are some of the consequences that I think we’re all having to experience,” he said. “But, you know, everybody’s making sacrifices here.”
“My hair grows pretty fast, so I maybe I’ll learn how to use a Flowbee or something else to cut my own hair,” he joked.
In 2018, when the billionaire was running for governor, he told a television debate moderator he paid $35 for his haircuts, and left his barber a $10 tip.
If the Governor’s daily pleadings to stay inside, wash your hands and keep your distance start to sound repetitive, or should you start to lose track of how long we’ve been stuck at home, perhaps we could soon start to gauge the length of this quasi-quarantine phase not with a calendar, but by eyeballing the length of the Governor’s hair.