In the hairy situation of a global pandemic, some local city officials have joined the trend of cultivating “quarantine beards.”
Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman is among those who have appeared in grainy Zoom videos with a suddenly hirsute style that, depending on the wearer, may range from the professorial to the piratical.
Michael Starling, Dunwoody’s economic development director, has switched between shaved and bearded looks over the years. But at a Dunwoody Development Authority virtual meeting this month, he appeared in a particularly whiskered condition and vowed, “I’m not going to shave until this thing is over.”
“You might be biblical,” warned DDA member Susan Mitchell, leading others to note a clock behind his head could pass for a halo, though they agreed that resemblances to holiness stopped there.
Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul began tending his beard under the serious circumstance of a literal quarantine — he remained home for 14 days unscathed after the city manager and city attorney were diagnosed with COVID-19.
After 12 days, he revealed a stubbly look in a Facebook photo, asking the public to weigh in on the question “should it stay or should it grow… I mean go!”
He later announced the beard got the cut, saying he thought it had “too much salt, not enough pepper.” And, as often happens among elected officials, the public vote mattered and “consensus was ‘go.’”
As for the rest of the official quarantine beards, it remains to be seen if they will expire alongside shelter-in-place orders or whether they’re hair to stay.