Barbershop owner develops 'Shield on Wheels' to protect hairstylists, clients amid coronavirus pandemic

Edwin Ramirez created an innovative shield to help protect barbers and clients amid the pandemic. (Photo: Edwin Ramirez)
Edwin Ramirez created an innovative shield to help protect barbers and clients amid the pandemic. (Photo: Edwin Ramirez)

An innovative New Jersey business owner has created a shield to help barbers and hairstylists stay safe while also protecting their clients’ health.

Edwin Ramirez, 40, of Union City, N.J. is a former barber and owner of 201 Stylez, a barbershop he has owned for 15 years. Ramirez, who is also a carpenter and graphic designer, tells Yahoo Life that the coronavirus put his businesses at a standstill.

“We had to shut down all three businesses, I had to send all the barbers home and the workers. I had to say to myself, ‘Something’s gotta give, I can’t have these guys sitting around,’” he explains. “At the end of the day, these employees need to bring money home to feed their kids.”

With things on hold, Ramirez decided to utilize his graphic design and woodshop businesses – both of which he has owned for a collective 11 years – to use by aiding essential businesses. He began making sneeze guards for supermarkets, pharmacies, liquor stores and delis in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It was not long before Ramirez realized he could use this to help bring his barbers back to work while keeping them and their clients safe by creating what he’s dubbed his “Shields on Wheels.”

This shield on wheels is designed to maintain social distancing while also providing accessibility. (Photo: Edwin Ramirez)
This shield on wheels is designed to maintain social distancing while also providing accessibility. (Photo: Edwin Ramirez)

“I created one with a door with a little opening window and after a while, I said, ‘Let me do one for the barbershop.’ I even [practiced] with my son to see how he feels,” he says.

After making some modifications, he had been able to put something together that would protect both clients and barbers. Ramirez explains that the shield is practical enough for anyone to use and includes an opening where barbers can access their client’s hair while maintaining a safe distance. He says that he is also working on adding portable chargers and hooks to hang blowdryers along with other prep tools.

An illustration of how the shield will protect barbers and clients. (Photo: Courtesy of Edwin Ramirez)
An illustration of how the shield will protect barbers and clients. (Photo: Courtesy of Edwin Ramirez)

So far, the inventor has received over 300 orders from over a dozen states, as well as 100 orders worldwide, one of which is a customized order for a doctor in South Africa. Ramirez says he is also working with a distributor in Canada.

Though his barbershops are still not operational, Ramirez is clearly making an impact on the world. He says that he has had a lot of positive feedback from people, which has kept him motivated. He wants people who want to make a difference during these uncertain times to stay positive.

“You have to have confidence in yourself,” he says. “If you have something in mind, go ahead and go for it. And if you don’t find a solution ... ask somebody.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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