Barber who had opened illegally shuts down but says his message mattered

Owner was willing to pay fines to stay open but pulled the plug when workers were threatened with fines

MIRAMAR, Fla. – The Miramar barbershop that had defiantly opened during stay-at-home orders has now shut down.

Miramar police arrived Wednesday at Lion Style Barbershop & Salon on State Road 7 and threatened to fine every barber working.

Daniel Liriano, the owner of the business, said he was willing to pay fines for operating a non-essential business, but he decided to close because he didn’t want his employees to be affected.

“They said they were going to fine my guys, too,” Liriano said. “I’m not going to hurt my crew, so I guess we’re going to shut it down.”

Liriano reopened his doors Tuesday after weeks of being shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday morning, customer after customer came in to get their hair cut.

Liriano said he made the decision to go against stay-at-home orders because he and his staff were desperate to earn money to pay rent and bills.

His story, first reported here on Local 10, touched a nerve in the community and even drew some national attention.

Liriano said he feels this ordeal has been worth it because he and his fellow business owners were heard about their financial struggle during the pandemic.

He noted that many people thanked him, including someone who brought in food to feed his and his barbers’ families.

“That made me cry. So, we did something good here,” Liriano said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis launched Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan on Monday, but Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have had to wait longer to begin opening non-essential businesses because of the high concentration of COVID-19 cases in South Florida.

Code enforcement handed Liriano a $65 fine Tuesday and warned that the fines would go up daily.

Liriano said he now plans to keep the doors of his business shut until the state allows him to reopen.

“This man’s a local hero and deserves business for going against the grain and providing what I think is a necessary service,” customer Darcy Penichet said Wednesday morning.

Penichet, a middle school teacher, said he accepted the risk of going to get a haircut during the pandemic.

“I’m willing to take that chance because you take a chance every day,” he said. “I could get hit by a car walking across the street. People get hit by meteorites. A lady just got killed by an alligator.”

To reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, every customer at Liriano’s shop was getting their temperature taken and their hands spritzed with sanitizer. Barbers were spaced more than six feet apart. And a team of professionals was cleaning the shop.

Not everyone supported Liriano’s decision to open. Lymari Veloz, who owns Beach Hair Salon in Miami Beach, told Local 10 that she fears many others in the beauty industry are starting to open shop, dangerously on the down-low.

“It’s very frustrating when you go around and you see that others are not following the rules,” she said. “A lot of people are doing it.”

Miami celebrity barber Juice, owner of Heads Up Barber Shop, is calling on government leaders to work with shop owners on develop guidelines to reopen safely and legally.

“I want to make sure that all of us here, especially here in South Florida, know what we’re doing in order to better ourselves and to keep ourselves safe, and to keep our clients safe,” he said.

Government leaders say they understand the pressure these local businesses are facing and want to open them as soon as it’s safe.

“We want to open up as fast as we can,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. "We are working on the way that we can open up — even barbershops. For god’s sakes, I need [a haircut]. I know that.”

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