NYC Considers Letter-Grade System for Barbers

NEW YORK (AP) -

Dirty nail clippers could get the same treatment as spoiled food under a proposal to expand NYC’s restaurant letter-grade system to a new frontier: barbershops, hair salons and nail salons.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who was motivated in part by an infection his wife’s aunt got from a pedicure, said he introduced the legislation this week to protect consumers and employees.

“Whether you go to a spa, a barber shop or a salon, the reality is that when they’re using scrapers on your feet, when they’re using nail files, when they’re removing your cuticles, when the barbershop is doing your borders with razor blades, these are mini medical procedures,” Diaz said. “In many cases blood is drawn.”

Under the city’s restaurant grading system, first introduced in 2010, eateries must post their A, B or C prominently in the window. The grade is based on the number of infractions inspectors spot, such as vermin or food left out of the refrigerator.

City health officials said emergency room visits for food poisoning dropped after the system was adopted.

Salons and barbershops are regulated by the New York Department of State, which has just 27 inspectors for the entire state. The department’s Division of Licensing Services received 180 complaints against “appearance enhancement establishments” in 2014, with unlicensed operators the most common complaint.

Because salons are licensed by the state, the bill introduced by Diaz and Rafael Espinal, chairman of the City Council’s consumer affairs committee, would call on the state to allow NYC to set up the grading system.