Alisha Anderson, cosmetologist at Bling Salon in Hayden, said when the shutdown began, she felt paralyzed. “At first I was depressed and scared, because you don’t know if someone’s a carrier of coronavirus, and you question whether you already have it. And then it was scary because I have no money, and I wondered ‘how long can I go without money?’ ” Alisha’s anxiety got so bad, “I couldn’t keep looking at the headlines every morning, or I would just freeze. It was emotional and financial turmoil. But as the stay home order progressed,” Alisha continued, “I stopped allowing fear to rule, and my anxiety became non-existent.”
Alisha is the sole proprietor for her business, and rents a station at the salon. She hasn’t been able to work in her field for over seven weeks, with no help from the government during that time. She’d like to get back to work, but said she “heard if people do hair behind the scenes, it means a $1,000 fine and an immediate loss of their cosmetology license.”
“When I was young, I always dreamed of working on hair and makeup for a movie set or magazine,” Alisha said. So Alisha graduated from cosmetology school to put her dream into action. But when she had kids, Alisha didn’t want to raise them in Hollywood. “I figured Idaho was the best place for raising kids, so I stayed here.”
If she could give a message to Governor Little, it would be that “It takes 400 hours of training to work in the medical field, whereas I had to get 2000 hours of training to be a cosmetologist. I’m inspected yearly by the state, and have to follow very strict safety and sanitation guidelines. I don’t think the beauty industry should have been shut down: We should have been trusted to follow sanitation guidelines. [This situation] is hitting the little guy really hard.”
Alisha’s finances have been severely affected. She stated, “All my bills are piled up: Phone, water, electricity. I’ve hardly been eating anything.” Two weeks ago, Alisha was fortunate enough to become a delivery driver for the Iron Pizza & Tap House, so “at least I can earn tips and hang on while I wait for unemployment money to come through.”
For Alisha, her community’s generosity, not the government’s, “shows a light at the end of the tunnel.” Alisha shared how her community has pulled together. “It was my first night delivering pizza, my very first delivery. I went to this guy’s house, and I was in awe of the scenic view from the front door,” Alisha described.
“He opened the door and asked how I was doing, how the pizza company was doing.” Alisha replied she thought they were all doing pretty good, and mentioned it was her very first delivery on the job. “Then I told him his tab, which was $56. He pulled out a hundred dollar bill and told me to keep the change. I started crying right there,” Alisha said. “I’d had no income for weeks. I had only a quarter tank of gas in my car for five hours of deliveries, and no money to my name. I choked up trying to say thank you.”