A resolution that was up for discussion on Tuesday night wishes to limit hours of operations for barbershops and salons from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Paterson to reduce residential disturbances. “We do need to regulate the business hours of these types of establishments,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large. “I don’t see a reason why barbershops need to be open into the twilight hours of the morning.”
Council members provided descriptions of barbershops which are open sometimes as late as 4 a.m. and are often used as places for the distribution and consumption of illicit drugs. Anthony Davis, the 1st Ward councilman, gave account a barbershop he visited, where the barber’s clothing and hands reeked of marijuana smell, which prompted Davis to cease patronizing the place.
Ruby Cotton, the 4th Ward councilwoman, mentioned instances in her area, where large crowds of people gathered in front of open barbershops late at night drinking liquor out of bottles and playing loud music, disturbing residents who live nearby. She says some even pull out folding chairs from their vehicles, set them up in front of the shops, and drink beer and smoke hookah. Some residents were so bothered that they called the police, who often responded, and dispersed the crowd; however, the crowd always returned the next day. As a result, the Paterson Police Department provided to Andre Sayegh, the 6th Ward councilman, a map of the city with dots over businesses that cause trouble overnight, resulting in complaint calls from resident.
Sayegh, who is also the council president, presented the document to fellow council members; he says the limits on hours of operation is “reasonable” and will be “helpful.” Sayegh mentioned other cities: Jersey City which, he says, forces barbershops and salons to close at 9 p.m.; and Bloomfield which, he says, forces the shops to close 8 p.m. “Our police are actually asking for this,” said Sayegh.
Kenneth McDaniel, councilman at-large, asked, “Am I to understand that if I’m a proprietor that I can’t be inside my shop” after a certain hour? McDaniel wanted to know whether a barbershop owner will be allowed to stay inside his shop after business hours to sweep up the floors or clean up or to speak to his friends. “Can I talk to my friend; can I play chess; can I listen to music; can I watch TV in the establishment that I’m paying for?” McDaniel vehemently opposed the resolution because it would result in loss of profit for businesses. “This ordinance will stop people from making money,” said McDaniel.
It was clarified later by Domenick Stampone, corporation counsel for the city, that businesses hours would only limit the hours during which an establishment is able to transact business, and do nothing to prevent them from being inside their establishment to clean or sweep.
“I think the board of adjustment is dropping the ball,” said Julio Tavarez, the 5th Ward councilman, who blames the large number of barbershops popping up all around the city on the board. He said, “In other municipalities they keep track: we have this many barbershops. And based on what the best practices are, you should have x amount of barbershops per people. I gotta tell you, I think we have more than enough barbershops.”
Tavarez also provided an alternative set of time during which shops should close, he said, “I think from Sunday through Wednesday it should be 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday 11:59 p.m. or 12 a.m.”
“I don’t know too many people who are going to get a haircut at 4 o’clock,” said William McKoy, the 3rd Ward councilman.