January 23, 2022

NY sheds barber law

Repeal allows haircutters to open legally on Sundays

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Bryshawn Lewis, a barber at Dapper Rascal Studio in Cortland, cleans clippers Tuesday.

For years, perhaps, you walked into the barber shop on Sunday. A day off. A convenient day for a trim. And illegal.

Until just last week, it was against New York law for barbers to be open on a Sunday, the remnant of decades-old blue laws enacted to make Sunday a day of rest.

Many barbers didn’t even know it was illegal. Others didn’t want to be open on Sunday, anyway.

“I think you should let them open any time,” said Angelo DiPietro of Binghamton, the owner and barber at Angelo’s Barber Shop in Cortland. He’s been in the business for 60 years, but Sundays aren’t his thing.

He’s open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and doesn’t plan to change.

Bryshawn Lewis of Dapper Rascal Studio in Cortland just wanted to be convenient for his customers. His shop opened recently on Main Street.

“Sometimes people just come in on Sunday when they see it’s open,” because they don’t have time during the week due to work, he said.

Being open on Sundays helps get business and word of mouth out on the store, which opened in May, Lewis said. Wednesdays through Saturdays, though, tend to be the days when the shop gets the most customers.

The business, Lewis said, aims to provide a casual environment comfortable for everyone.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a repeal of provisions of the law July 13 which, while rarely enforced, made it a misdemeanor to cut hair or provide a shave on Sundays, according to the governor’s office.

“This is the very definition of an archaic and meaningless law that makes little to no sense in the 21st century,” Cuomo said.

“While not routinely enforced, I’m more than happy to sign this repeal into law and allow these businesses to determine what days they choose to operate.”

This isn’t the first blue law to be rescinded during Cuomo’s tenure. In 2016, the state enacted a law allowing bars and restaurants to begin serving alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays rather than noon, pulling back on restrictions in place since near the end of Prohibition. It was called “the Brunch Bill.”