Salon owners, stylists rally to push for indoor operations

California Connection

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Salon owners and hairstylists gathered at the State Capitol on Tuesday while social distancing and wearing masks to call on Governor Gavin Newsom to allow them to resume indoor operations.

Hair salons reopened briefly with safety protocols but were ordered closed again during a spike in COVID-19 cases unless they chose to serve clients outside. While many nail salons switched to outside service, it’s not ideal during the heat of the day in the Central Valley.

Very few hairstylists could make it work and those who did said they were still losing money.

“Opening for outside services is kind of a joke,” hairstylist Madelyn Erickson said.

Erickson, who works in Lodi, said she is handcuffed by state cosmetology regulators and code enforcement.

“We cannot do chemical services and we can’t run power and water outside because of OSHA compliance. So, we would be limited to about 10%,” she said.

That’s why there was a plea not to lump hair salons into the restaurant, bar and family entertainment category that allows for outside operations only.

Not only is rent due again at the end of the month but many salon owners have also spent thousands of dollars on screens, masks and cleaning supplies.

“Just in our network in California we lost 21 salons, closed permanently. They’re just not going to make it,” said Ward Bassett, who supplies a network of salons in the Western U.S.

Bassett said he collected data from more than 7,000 salons that served 500,000 customers and found 17 coronavirus cases, some contracted away from salons.

Those at Tuesday’s rally said they already follow strict health guidelines mandated by the state.

Some salon owners have turned to social media and online fundraising through GoFundMe accounts in order to survive. It’s that kind of desperation that prompted Tuesday’s protest, which they hope will get the attention of the governor. 

“I’m a single mom and I’m struggling to support my family,” Erickson said.

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