Gov Whitmer Apologizes to Hair Stylists, Barbers After Suggesting People Could ‘Google How to Do A Hair Cut’

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has faced criticism and protests over her handling of the Coronavirus and recently she found new ways to offend hard working professionals in her state.

During a press conference Monday, she was asked about residents traveling to Ohio for hair and spa services. Whitmer responded by suggesting people “Google how to do a haircut or throw your hair in a ponytail or curl it” over the next couple of weeks before Michigan’s hair-cutting services are restored.

She apologized on a radio show yesterday, calling it an “offhand comment” and not meant as an insult to the profession. Claiming ignorance, she said, “I didn’t mean to offend people who are in the profession. I think that it’s important, I think that it is licensed for a reason. These are professionals who take it seriously and intimately interact with the public, and that’s why we have to take this very seriously about how we proceed to keep people safe.”

From The Detroit News:

Her comments riled salon owners and barbers, who noted the extensive training they are required by the state to receive to be licensed. Owosso barber Karl Manke has been the highest-profile hair cutter in the state since he defied Whitmer’s ban and continues to cut hair despite a court order demanding the immediate closing of his shop.

The barbers and salon owners also observed that someone could get their teeth cleaned or their dog groomed but couldn’t get a haircut. 

“To make matters worse, while keeping us closed, Gov. Whitmer chose to disrespect Michigan’s highly trained licensed cosmetologists by saying that people can simply Google how to do a haircut,” Mike Sarafa of the Safe Salons for Michigan coalition said in a Tuesday statement. “This statement was an insult to the well-trained and education professionals who have spent years honing their abilities and we believe the governor owes them an apology.”  

Whitmer’s comments on Mojo in the Morning Thursday were in response to Sarafa, who called into the show to ask the governor about her comments. 

Sarafa said he appreciated Whitmer’s “steadfastness,” but questioned the science that was prompting the continued closure of Michigan salons and barber shops longer than any other state.

Whitmer apologized for her comments but pushed back on the claim that 49 other states have reopened barbers and hair salons, noting that it was partially lifted in some states.

“We are looking at moving Regions 6 and 8 into Phase 5,” Whitmer said, referring to her six-phase reopen plan. “That means that will be permitted in parts of Michigan in the coming days.

“It is my fervent hope that in the coming days and weeks we are going to be as back to normal as we can be until we have a vaccine and that includes haircuts and all of these other services that you’re advocating for,” she said.

On top of that, Whitmer has been blasted for marching with protesters, upset about the death of George Floyd in police custody. “Social distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19 — unless you have a great photo op,” Republican State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis said on Twitter.

To add to all that, today, Michigan changed the way it calculates Coronavirus deaths, boosting the total by 4 percent or 240 deaths to more than 5,800. The inclusion of “probable” Coronavirus related deaths reflect cases in which the virus is strongly considered as the cause of death, but victims didn’t test positive for the virus. 

In addition to the increase in deaths, the state said there were nearly 5,000 more “probable” cases, an 8.5 percent increase over the confirmed cases of 58,241.