CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — A cut, and a shot. Those were the services offered at Urban Kutz Barbershop on Detroit Avenue on Saturday.
“I’m a truck driver and I go everywhere, and I don’t want to get the COVID,” said Ilir Brami who came in to get his second COVID shot because the location was more convenient than where he had his first.
Owner Waverly Willis shared his space with the Cleveland Department of Public Health. “Even though we’re busy, everything is very organized, so I definitely salute my team from the City of Cleveland.”
Health and Communications Outreach Coordinator Katrese Minor says small businesses are very important to the city’s public health. “We want to go where the people are and a lot of people frequent small businesses in the area and we want to be in those places so without their support, it would be much more difficult.”
Waverly’s goal was to reach what he calls a forgotten population who may have language barriers or little to no access to cell phones.
“As they should have, they had a lot of questions, so they got all their questions answered they kind of sat back, watched the process and saw how we were doing things and they decided to go ahead and get it.”
Waverly said he’s glad people came even if they didn’t end up getting the shot because they were able to talk to professionals and get correct information about the COVID vaccine.
“It’s important to get the opportunity to people so that it’s easy, so that it’s accessible and so that they can take advantage of it,” said Minor.
Those who did get the shot were able to wait their fifteen minutes at Eagle Kafe next door — and the refreshments were on Waverly. “That’s really amazing, You can get drink your coffee the other side and you can get the COVID vaccine over here. That’s really amazing,” said Brami.
That is part of the comfortable environment Waverly believed he could provide. “I know that this is not just a barbershop, neither one of my locations. It’s a trusted space that people rely on.”
He hopes this clinic sends a message to other small businesses to get more involved. “Because small businesses make up the fabric of our environment, our businesses and our community. So imagine if this was going on at every small business all over. We wouldn’t have such a lag in our vaccination numbers right now.”
And Waverly is not done offering up his business. His Pearl Rd location will be ready to vaccinate another 100 people next Saturday from noon to 4:30 pm.
Cleveland has two health clinics, McCaffety on the west side and J. Glen Smith on the east side, where they will be offering standing vaccine clinics.
The city is also hosting vaccination clinics at local churches and schools. You can find more information here or by calling their COVID Vaccine Info-Line at 216-664-2222.