A barber who continued to cut hair at a shop in New York over the past few weeks in violation of the state's stay-at-home order has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health.
In a statement Wednesday, the county health commissioner advised anyone who received a haircut in the past three weeks at a barbershop on Broadway in the city of Kingston, about 20 miles north of Poughkeepsie, to seek testing for the coronavirus. The statement did not identify either the barber or the shop.
Nonessential businesses have been closed since March 22 under an order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that is set to expire Friday, when certain parts of the state that have met public health metrics will be allowed to begin a phased reopening.
Under the order, barbershops, beauty salons, nail salons and other businesses that provide personal care services are not allowed to be open and operated to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"We are taking extraordinary measures to try and minimize the spread of this dangerous disease," Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith said. "Learning that a barbershop has been operating illicitly for weeks with a COVID-19 positive employee is extraordinarily disheartening."
"As much as we would all like to go out and get a professional haircut, this kind of direct contact has the potential to dramatically spread this virus throughout our community and beyond," Smith added.