Frustrated and desperate to save their businesses, a number of California salons, spas and barbershops plan to resume indoor services today, risking fines in defiance of their governor’s second shutdown order. According to a coalition that recently lobbied the Los Angeles’ mayor’s office in an attempt to get the industry safely reopened, the opening of salons before the mandate is lifted could backfire.
The coalition reported: “The mayor’s representative communicated that the beauty industry has a perception problem. They went on to say that any action that defies orders that are in place to assure consumer safety, could shift the state government’s focus away from re-opening salons. What is happening in California is center stage, and being watched all over the country.”
Here’s the background: In mid-July, just as salons around the state of California were reopening and servicing clients again after the first shutdown from COVID-19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a second round of statewide shutdowns, halting all indoor dining, bars and museums. As part of that second shutdown order, salons, spas, barbershops, and nail salons were forced to shutter their doors in most California counties. A few days later the governor amended the order, allowing salons, barbershops, nail salons and massage parlors to move some of their services outdoors, but for many salons those few exceptions aren’t enough to keep their businesses afloat.
On August 11, executives representing Bassett Salon Solutions, Steve Gomez Business Coaching, American Made Beauty, Beauty Solutions, Sweiss Beauty, TKG, Ecru New York and Mazur Group lobbied the Los Angeles’ mayor’s office, outlining the impact the shutdown is having on the professional beauty industry, sharing the stories of impact and the measures salons were taking to keep clients safe, and offering to help establish guidelines for a second reopening.
Some of the facts the coalition presented, include:
- California is an epicenter of beauty and fashion because of its healthy lifestyle, fashion and entertainment industries and international reach. Preventing beauty professionals from providing services also impacts these industries. Asking these professionals to perform their services outside is both impractical and presents a host of new costs to protect public health.
- Statewide, there are 40,000 salons, spas, barbershops and nail salons.
- These companies provide jobs for 600,000 employees.
- Ninety percent of the owners and staff of these businesses are women.
- Annually, these salons perform 42,000,000 services.
- The infection rate in these businesses is low at .00002%.
- These businesses have invested in the proper sanitation and safety equipment to keep both staff members and clientele safe.
- California is the only state in the country that has shut down salons for a second time, and these businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Lost revenue, investment in PPE and other physical changes to protect public health; and mounting months of rent is having a destructive affect that is poised to wipe out these important small business owners.
During the presentation, the coalition issued a call to action: “We compel our California elected officials to reconsider the salon industry and work with us to plan to reopen immediately. With the loss of the unemployment stimulus and the expiration of the Payroll Protection Program on August 8, it is now imperative to find solutions that can be implemented right away. We thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this matter.”
The coalition then shared stories illustrating the commitment to public health from influential salons around the state:
“We have removed most of our chairs, so we work six feet apart or more. At their stations, we have provided our stylists with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, safety glasses and masks. We have trained many young hairdressers to be hairdressers who pay taxes, claim tips, buy homes and help others. We contribute significantly to our community, the neighborhood and to the city.”—Ginger Boyle, Planet Salon, Los Angeles
“My salon, Luxe Parlour, is, or should I say was, a successful business. I built this business from the ground up—just hard work and grit. I am a single mother of two with full custody of both children. Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown I was free and clear of debt. I am now more than $300,000 in debt due to a loan I took out to save my business, as a result of the extended amount of time we have been forced closed. I have continued to pay 100% of the commercial lease and overhead I am obligated to as a business owner.”—Christine George, Luxe Parlour, Studio City
“We have hand sanitation at every station, reception area and bathroom. Bathrooms are sanitized after every client visit and once an hour. We employ a cleaning and deep sanitation company. Our stations are six feet apart and our staff and clients wear masks at all times. We also take the temperatures of clients and staff before entry. Each station is sanitized before and after each client and we post a CDC signage at entry and thought the salon. We also provide freshly laundered capes for each client.”—Tamara Perry and Vanessa McGrath, Perry McGarth Salon, Los Angeles, California
“We followed all guidelines provided by the state and county, including 6-foot social distancing, removing our waiting area, and taking temperatures for all clients and staff. I have lost half my team to independent rental salons. I feel like we are being marginalized and disregarded as a viable California business. By keeping salons closed, California is driving the professional industry underground, which means undeclared income.” --Janine Jarman, Hairroin Salons, Los Angeles and New York
“Today is Saturday, and it always is the busiest day of the week in our industry, but today my salon is empty—no clients, no team members, nothing! We were told and given guidelines to open safe, and we put lots of time and money in to do it, just to be shut down again. We need support or need to be open. Help save our salons because if something doesn’t happen, many will lose their businesses, dreams and all the hard work put in. Help us or open us!! We have lost so much already, and can’t afford to lose more!!”—Keri Davis Duffy, Gila Rut Salons, San Diego, CA
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