On Monday, salon owners protested in San Diego and Los Angeles County against having to work outside, threatening to ramp protests up to the state level in August if they aren’t allowed to work inside their stores.
“Masks on, save salons”
In San Diego, several dozen salon owners were chanting “Masks on, save salons” outside County buildings, demanding to move inside their stores because of the summer heat, changes to certain hair stylings due to the heat interfering with the processes, and new hazards that present themselves outside, such as insect or allergen interference. A smaller protest in Los Angeles raised similar points.
“We just keep getting the short end of the stick,” said salon co-owner Judy Chan in an interview with the California Globe. “During the first mass closings early this year, we were among some of the last to reopen. We were out for over two months and didn’t really get back up and running until the beginning of June because of Memorial Day.”
“Then, a month later, after we bought a lot of expensive equipment like shields and sanitizers, we had to lose down again. And, like before, the Governor then dragged his feet on letting us reopen. And then, when we could, it had to be in special places outside, making us spend even more to get that up to standards.”
“And working outside, it’s not great. Wind can come by, and we’ve already had a few screw ups because of the heat interfering with our work.”
“We’ve had enough.”
Multiple re-openings and COVID-19 worries
Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom allowed hair salons and barbershops to reopen after several weeks of having to re-close following another of the governor’s state lockdown orders. However, all salons and barbershops will need to operate outside under a tent, canopy, or some other open air covering that has no more than one side closed. Similar laws passed by local and county officials to allow for outdoor re-openings for salons and barbershops further bolstered outdoor re-openings.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs confirmed the parameters of salon re-openings, saying that they will need to be, for the time being, an “outdoor establishment with or adjacent to a licensed establishment.”
Governor Newsom has been slow to allow hair salons and barbershops to reopen due to worries over COVID-19 transmission as workers have very close contact with clients. In May, Gov. Newsom in a daily press conference claimed that the breakout of the coronavirus in California started in a nail salon, the day after attorney Harmeet Dhillon announced a lawsuit against the governor and State of CA on behalf of the salon owners and barbers.
“The good news is we now have new guidelines out on the COVID-19.ca.gov website clarifying what we can and can’t do as it relates to hair cuts and activities that we want to move from indoors to outdoors for personal care services industry,” said the Governor last Monday.
With the state not budging, salon owners are now planning to takings to a higher power, namely the state. Salon owners from around the state are expected to stage a large protest in Sacramento next month to bring attention to lawmakers how bad they are struggling.
“We’re going to bring this message to Sacramento,” added Chan. “It’s either allow us to reopen indoors, or watch our businesses die a slow death.
“We’ve done everything they asked us to. We’ve made sacrifices and spent money to stay open. But they keep changing the rules and ask us to do more and buy more things, and we’re just at the end of our rope. We just want to do what we love to do, and as we’ve shown, we can do it safely indoors.”
The salon protest is currently planned for August 11th next month in Sacramento, with protesters planning to put tripods and dolls heads on the steps on the State Capitol Building to draw attention to their plight.