Delco barber shop owner protests Gov. Wolf's order to remain closed amid COVID-19 pandemic

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A barber shop in Delaware County is protesting in response to Governor Tom Wolf's order that non-essential businesses stay closed.

"I didn't want to open up in silence. I wanted everybody to realize that small businesses are suffering," Giovanni's owner Nichole Missino said.

Missino was joined by others outside her Media shop early Saturday morning, as they hope small businesses would be allowed to reopen.

On Friday, the signage indicated closed doors, but signs of life were apparent inside the barber shop.

"Even if nothing changes, at least we tried," expressed one employee.

She along with the rest of the staff in Giovanni's hosted a meeting that would decide the fate of the shop for good.

The choices on the table were: defy state orders and open up shop, or comply, stay closed, and risk going out of business.

"We're not going to be able to survive. If we're going to have to be closed another month like the governor is saying, we're not going to be able to make it," said Missino.

Missino said with her staff's livelihood and her own at stake, she had every intention of opening the doors this weekend. Appointments have been booked left and right and they are taking every imaginable precaution.

Sanitizer, face shields, extra capes, and UV lighting all purchased for the occasion. But then calls started and the choice whether or not to open became pretty clear, Missino said.

"We have been threatened with occupancy certificates being pulled. We were threatened with they were going to revoke our licensing," said Missino.

While Missino's staff were upset, longtime client Rudy Widmann, was infuriated.

"I would like to know 'who cut the governor's hair?'" said Widmann.

Widmann, who for personal reasons has been unable to cut his hair or shave since mid-March, said for people like him, this service is essential.

"People want their clothes cleaned or their dry cleaners open," said Widmann.

And here, he feels even safer.

"The amount of work that she's done on her own, her safety measure in there should be a role model they should look at," Widmann added.

The doors will remain closed, but Missino hopes the protest will convince the governor to change his mind and let her reopen the business.

Police put up barricades in preparation of the protest.


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