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Barbers Fight Disbanding Regulatory Board

MONDAY NIGHT’S meeting at the Neighborhood Barbershop had professionals from Woodbridge to Virginia Beach dropping in to learn about the potential ramifications of House Bill 892. (Photo: J. Michael Whalen)

The introduction of House Bill 892 (HB 892) to the Virginia General Assembly on Jan. 8 aims to disband the state’s Board of Barbers and Cosmetology, which is the governing body that oversees, regulates and inspects trade licenses in the state for barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and body-piercing establishments. The bill caused a stir among area tradesmen who specialize in the service and prompted a meeting at the Neighborhood Barbershop in the City of Falls Church Monday night to enlighten the interested attendees on the political process and potential fallout that would come from the bill’s passage.

According to Dustin Foley, co-owner of the Neighborhood Barbershop and moderator at the meeting, the greatest risk the bill presents is its stripping of public protections. By disbanding the board, there would be no oversight on the level of education or sanitation in a shop, no agency performing background checks on new employees and no place to report any kind of gross negligence conducted by tradesmen. Residual effects could be a lack of coverage from insurance companies due to heightened health risks and a major dent to the tradesmen’s credibility as professionals.

HB 892 was introduced by Del. Michael Werbert (VA-18) and is currently awaiting review from the General Laws committee.