Makeup artist, Okla. Governor under fire after allegedly ignoring social distancing and non-essential worker guidelines

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Hair stylists and cosmetologists are speaking out after a Facebook post that claimed Governor Kevin Stitt wasn’t following his own recommendations when it comes to their profession and COVID-19.

According to a Facebook post from a hair stylist, Gov. Kevin Stitt had his hair and makeup done over the weekend.

In the post, a woman said, “Wear your masks people! Even while doing makeup and hair for the Governor of Oklahoma.”

“I find it’s a little bit hypocritical,” Dee Dean, a hair stylist with Salon and Spa on Spring Creek, told KFOR. 

The post was made after Stitt’s office previously told KFOR that professional cosmetology services could not be performed outside of a licensed establishment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“I mean if the rules are the rules, then the rules should apply to everybody,” Dean said. 

Back on April 1, KFOR asked Governor Kevin Stitt if hair dressers can go to their clients’ homes to do their hair. 

“I’ll take that into consideration and release some guidance on that,” Stitt said, 

Later, his office sent KFOR this statement: 

“State law mandates professional cosmetology services must be performed in a licensed establishment.

Hair salons and similar establishments are not considered essential services and must remain closed until April 30 to limit close contact and personal touch as Oklahomans work together to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Office


“I also had reached out to his staff and had them send me the same statement that they had given to you and it’s posted on our website,” Sherry Lewelling, the Executive Director for the Oklahoma Board of Cosmetology, said. “None of that has changed.” 

When KFOR contacted Stitt’s office on Monday, they sent us this statement:

“The federal government lists communications as a critical infrastructure sector and specifically mentions workers who support television and media services.

The individual you are referring to was working for the network the governor appeared on and provided the minimum amount of service required while wearing protective equipment.”  

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Office

“I guess it’s a necessity for them but not for other people,” Nikki Crow, a hair stylist, said. “My kids were like, ‘What are you going to get me for Easter?’ Not really like that but, you know, the Easter bunny, and I’m thinking, I can play with you. We can read books. We can hang out, but I don’t know when I’m going to receive any more money.”

KFOR also reached out to the cosmetologist who did not wish to be named. We received the following statement:

“Although the current standing Orders direct that all ‘nonessential’ services are to cease operations, especially those with a ‘social gathering aspect’ which includes salons and barbershops, the services provided to Governor Stitt by [cosmetologist] were not conducted in a salon, but in the studios of a professional television media services company that provides hair and makeup services in conjunction with live television news broadcasts and media tours. [She] is an independent contractor for this media outlet and she is fully licensed with the State of Oklahoma to provide such services in a licensed studio setting. These services fall under the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering’s Rules, Regulations and Statutes, Chapter 10 9.54, which states: “Cosmetology and barber related high fashion photography or similar Establishment requirements (a) Any high fashion photography and similar cosmetology/barber related business/Establishment providing any one or combination of services separately or in conjunction with photography or similar services to the public shall be appropriately licensed by the Board (b) Any employee or other person performing any one or combination of cosmetology or barber services in such Establishment shall be appropriately licensed by the Board.
As a State governmental official, Governor Stitt, per the most recent Executive Order issued on April 8, 2020, is authorized to “employ additional staff without regard to the classification requirements of such employment” in order to carry out the responsibilities of his office. Making live televised appearances is included as part of his required duties of office, especially in light of the ongoing need to transmit the most current information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, [she] and the media studio ensured that all proper safety precautions were taken during the time she provided such services to Governor Stitt, indulging wearing a mask and gloves at all times, thoroughly washing hands before and after providing these services; all brushes and styling tools used were fully sanitized before and after use; no more than four persons were permitted into the staging area at any time and all were required to remain apart from each other; no chemical treatments or cutting tools were utilized at any times; and no skin-to-skin contact made by [her] with anyone present, not even to shake hands.”

Editor’s note: KFOR has not and will not be taking advantage of this exemption. News 4 employees do their own makeup and hair before appearing on air.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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