Rochester churches, hair salons, barbershops to receive COVID-19 test kits

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — More than 23,000 free rapid COVID-19 test kits will be distributed as early as Thursday. It’s part of the city’s expansion plan to get them in churches, hair salons, and barbershops.

News10NBC found out how, and when these kits will be given out to the community at a local barbershop.

New Creations Unisex Shop is one of dozens of businesses across the city that will give out rapid COVID-19 test kits to anyone who comes in for one.

It’s been a week now since Monroe County received 750,000 rapid COVID-19 test kits. Soon the kits will be available at different businesses throughout the city. Rochester City Councilman Willie Lightfoot owns New Creations and talks about the importance of getting these kits into the hands of people living in some of the pandemic’s hardest-hit communities.

"In the Black and Brown community, we know that historically barbershops and beauty salons and places of houses of worship are places where you know we tend to congregate," Lightfoot said.

Kit distribution is set to begin immediately.

"Most of the places will start receiving them, some of them, tomorrow, but all will have them by the end of the week. So I would anticipate by the end of next week all houses of worship, and or barbershops and salons should have their test kits," Lightfoot said.

He explains how the kits will be given out at New Creations.

"People have to sign up you know what I mean, and be scheduled in to have a haircut," Lightfoot said.

Each person will receive one test kit containing two testing swabs. Lightfoot says what people will not receive is any misleading information similar to what was being put out against vaccinations.

"These are places that they’re familiar with. They’re comfortable with whom they trust, and they’re free, and it’s not a vaccine. It’s just a test to make sure that you’re safe," Lightfoot said.

About 240 places of worship, and at least 250 barbershops, and hair salons in the city will get test kits. Schools also received their share of free tests kits and will give them out to students and staff.