California hair and nail salons can only provide services outdoors. A planned Tuesday rally at the state Capitol by several hundred beauty professionals seeks to change that.
Alicia Orabella runs a hair salon in the Bay Area. After several months of being shut down and seeing many of her friends in the industry lose their jobs, she wanted to do something. She organized the rally and is expecting several hundred people from across the state to join her in Sacramento.
The rally comes two days after California’s top public health official, Dr. Sonia Angell, resigned, and follows the state announcement of a fix for a glitch that caused a lag in reporting coronavirus test results. Those results are used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.
Orabella is concerned about what she’s seeing in a growing underground part of her industry, and even unsanitary things happening outdoors. She recently saw two customers leaning up against dumpsters while they waited to get their nails done in a parking lot.
The Professional Beauty Federal of California is calling for Gov. Gavin Newsom to acknowledge the safety of their salons as the CDC did after a Missouri case, and as all other 49 governors have done in their states.
Newsom did back down in July and allowed some, but not all, of the industry’s services to be allowed outdoors.
“We can control our environment. We can’t control the environment of working outdoors.” — Alicia Orabella, Orabella Hair Studio
Peaceful Pro Beauty Rally
“I wanted to create this movement to bring social awareness about protecting our industry and getting us inside again,” says Orabella to GV Wire℠ by Zoom. “One of my closest friends is a barber in San Francisco, and that shop just closed down two weeks ago. So now he has nowhere to work.”
Orabella’s salon has been closed since March 17. She believes the worst thing that will happen is nothing will change, but she at least wants to say she tried.
Beauty establishments as far away as San Diego and Fresno are planning to attend Tuesday’s rally. At the time of the Zoom interview, Orabella said she’s received responses from 150 to 200 people planning to attend.
Orabella said she obtained a rally permit the California Highway Patrol. The agency then reached out to her to make sure no one was going to be cutting people’s hair on the Capitol steps.
The rally will consist of barbers and cosmetologists. They’ll be cutting fake hair on doll heads placed on tripods. Nail professionals will bring manicuring tables with fake hands— as they use in beauty school. Everyone will wear masks and there will be a sanitizing station for everyone, she said. Orabella’s goal is to show how safe the industry is which is why she’s calling the event the “peaceful pro beauty rally.”
Orabella acknowledges there is no 100% way to prevent COVID-19 infections, but she believes customers are better protected indoors.
“We can control our environment. We can’t control the environment of working outdoors,” she said.
Professional Beauty Federation of California
The Professional Beauty Federation of California is a non-profit trade association that works on behalf of 621,000 hair, skin, and nails licensed professionals. It also helps more than 53,000 licensed barbering and beauty establishments in the state.
The group calls Newsom’s move on July 13 to allow limited services outside an “empty gesture.”
“Each of our licensed professionals have hundreds of hours of formal education and training in cross-contamination, disinfection, and sanitation protocols,” said the group’s attorney, Fred Jones, in a statement emailed to GV Wire℠. “Our barbering, beauty services should not be done outside in the heat and elements, nor should they be done underground.”
“Our barbering, beauty services should not be done outside in the heat and elements, nor should they be done underground.” — attorney Fred Jones, The Professional Beauty Federation of California
The federation cites an example in Missouri where two hairstylists who saw dozens of clients while infected with the coronavirus did not pass the illness to any of their customers who were tested.
“This is exciting news about the value of masking to prevent COVID-19,” Springfield-Greene County Director of Health Clay Goddard said in a statement June 8, referring to facial coverings still mandated in many public places.
A CDC report about the Missouri incident states: “Among 139 clients exposed to two symptomatic hair stylists with confirmed COVID-19 while both the stylists and the clients wore face masks, no symptomatic secondary cases were reported.”
California Guidance for Hair Salons and Barbershops
The California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency released rules allowing hairstylists, barbers, manicurists, massage therapists, and estheticians to offer some personal care services outdoors.
They can operate under tents, canopies, or other shelters so long as no more than one side is enclosed, the agency said, allowing for enough outdoor air movement to deter the buildup or spread of the virus.
The rules still bar chemical hair services including shampooing, permanent waving, bleaching, tinting, coloring, dyeing, and straightening. Electrolysis, tattooing, and piercing also are banned.