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After weeks of waiting, stress, and lots of anxiety, Tanya Alvarado opened her Tower District salon Tuesday.

Nestled into a small space near Olive Avenue and North Van Ness Ave., ‘Salon Posh’ had its lights on, and people walking by were taking notice.

Alvarado’s first client arrived around 10 a.m. She allowed GV Wire℠ to arrive shortly thereafter, requiring a temperature check and hand sanitization.

She says she started her business about 8 years ago. During the pandemic shutdown she estimates she’s lost about $30,000.

Alvarado has 6 independent stylists in her shop that lease space from her. She says they are all in favor of opening.

Only Alvarado was in the salon Tuesday morning, but she expects all her stylists will return soon.

Fear of Having to Close

“I’ve gotten to the point where my only option is either I sit back and lose my business or I come to work and have a chance of saving my business and just deal with some consequences.”Tanya Alvarado, Salon Posh Owner

She said she’s ready if she gets a visit from local or state enforcement officials. “My plan is for them to do a walkthrough and show me how how am I putting my client or my staff at risk? Please show me what it is I’m doing wrong,”

Plexiglass separates the salon’s chairs from one another. Alvarado says customers are required to get a temperature check, sign a waiver, and use hand sanitizer before they pass by the front desk.

She acknowledged the possibility of being cited for violating health orders, like a number of other local businesses have been during the pandemic. City of Fresno spokesman Mark Standriff says fines run from $250 to $10,000 per violation.

It is definitely a fear. But like I said, I have no other option and I have to fight.”

“I’ve gotten to the point where my only option is either I sit back and lose my business or I come to work and have a chance of saving my business and just deal with some consequences,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado says she’s mostly concerned with state enforcement because she is licensed by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

Standriff said Alvarado is right to be concerned about action by the agency. “They’re part of the Governor’s strike force and very present in the Central Valley right now and could revoke her license,” he said in an email.

Salon Posh installed plexiglass between chairs (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

Salon Posh owner Tanya Alvarado says temperature checks are required and clients must use hand sanitizer when entering her shop. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

The agency’s website confirms the risk.

“For salons that put public health and safety at risk the Board will pursue action against their license,” the site warns. “The Board strongly encourages establishments to not defy the public health orders.”

Why Not Outside?

In late July, Gov. Gavin Newsom said hair and nail salons in counties on the state’s watch list could only offer their services outdoors. At the time, an industry organization said the changes would give little help to business owners.

Alvarado says serving her client outside is not a suitable option. “Because it’s over 100 degrees outside. And as you can see, I’m doing a chemical service. There’s no way that I can do this outside without possibly burning my client’s hair and maybe overheating us.”

She also has to wash and rinse hair that’s been treated with chemicals. “Where’s the water going to go?”

“One of My Lowest Points’

Alvarado says she’s been a licensed cosmetologist for 12 years.

“Since the first shut down, I admit, I was depressed. I had anxiety. I was at one of my lowest points in my life because I was afraid of the unknown and we didn’t know when we were going to open,” Alvarado said while continuing to work on her clients’ hair.

She said she made the decision to reopen her salon after video call with the state board earlier this month. She said the moderator of the call kept skipping over questions from stylists about when they’d be able to reopen.

Salon Posh owner Tanya Alvarado works on a client’s hair Tuesday morning. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

Open Safe California Movement

Alvarado said she has been inspired by a movement called  “Open Safe California,” started by a business owner in the Bay Area, which encouraged salons, barbers & tattoo shops across the state to reopen on August 17.

“It’s just really frustrating. It feels like we’ve been forgotten and brushed aside,” founder Shayana Flick told ABC10 in Sacramento.

Alvarado wasn’t ready to open her location on Monday, but said she was there getting ready. She says the name of the movement is very appropriate.

“It’s a term to show that we can open up safely and make sure that our clients are confident of being able to come in here and know that everything is clean and sanitized versus going to a grocery store or a Target or Costco, where they don’t take as many necessary precautions as we do,” she said.

14 Responses

  1. MGomez

    Courageous woman!

    Why doesn’t Governor “Shellacked Hair” Newsom relocate “their” office outside in this heat?

    Reply
    • Roger

      Tanya. Your very brave to do this , your at risk of losing licsence doing this, oh well, your standing up for what is truly safe. Tanya thank you so much for all of us , just remember we are all with you.

      Reply
  2. Linda Avila

    It’s so sad that beauticians and manicurist Are really put to the test of sink or swim and the majority of them are probably ready to sink. your savings only last so long when you have no work. Tanya I hope you can be the example of determination for all other salons to open. best of luck

    Reply
    • Helen

      Hope you have luck. I don’t understand that they are going to open up theaters & not nail & hair salons. I agree with Tanya.

      Reply
  3. Michele

    Good for her!!!! I’m so sick of this insane tyrant running our state! He thinks he’s God. I will rejoice when that recall option is put on November’s ballot!!!

    Reply
  4. Camille Edmunds

    The problem is not the separation it is the amount of virus in the air. If both parties have a well fitting mask that helps. If the building has a HVAC system where it takes the air from the outside and cools it and sucks the air inside out. That helps with adequate ventilation. Most of the heating /cooling units are not those. In this heat we cannot open the doors and windows. There is also a need for a certain kind of filter MERV filter # 13 that helps filter the virus. Plexiglas does not help with virus that is in the air. Someone who is sick even with no symptoms carries a lot of virus. If in the air it can get on your clothes and you touch and then touch your eye or nose and you are exposed. So contained spaces with out ventilation moving air from the outside in and inside air out the virus loads builds and that is the danger. More virus more chance of infection. I feel sorry for these business owners but it is all about risk to them and their clients. A salon in another state opened in the spring and the clients and the beautician did wear masks. The beautician had covid but because of the masks her 125 clients did not get sick. In the spring there was ventilation. Now it is almost impossible in the Valley.

    Reply
    • Pam James

      Camille…look at the statistics on the CDC website. The possibility of not dying from Covid 19 is 99.98% in Fresno County! I know the media has inflicted fear, but if the media showed car accidents over and over again, you probably wouldn’t drive because you would be afraid you would get in an accident. It is ok to open things. People get viruses…our state doesn’t have to shut down because of it. I applaud this stylist for opening her salon. We need more stylists, restaurants, and churches to open!

      Reply
    • Bill

      Camille you a virology? I love how this fake plandemic has turned people into experts. You are sadly parroting data that is unproven tag lines.
      Unfortunately, Tanya is in the district of a city councilwoman who is pro Newsom , pro mask and anti business. Her solution would be grabbing more millions in public funds to throw at a few businesses and illegals. Just a walk through anyones district that supports Newsoms far reaching bizarre controls is full of looted and closed businesses. Maybe the people in Soria and Arias district that voted for them ought to demand they pay attention to the American taxpayers in THEIR district instead of undocumented farm workers they just deemed “essential” and hustled $5.6 million for and within hours was penning a letter to Newsom for millions more for farmworkers.
      Tanya is correct public health has to show data that directly correlates that salons spread Covid 19 . They dont have such data. This is picking winners and losers. The winners allowed to stay open: liquor stores, Walmart,, Amazon fulfillment centers, abortion clinics, pot dispensaries. Losers: Fresno County fair ( although its 90% outside) Fresno Churches ( although rioters may burn bibles) , Break the Barriers ( 36 years of serving disabled and special needs children) Fresnos community Arts, private Christian Schools, California citizens by the end of August Newsom is unleashing 18,000 more criminals to prey on society because evidently masks don’t work well enough to use on criminals in jails. No worries before mention council people are anti-police and huge supporters of defund the police making our community more unsafe. Great news dog groomers are allowed back to work with no state restrictions.
      Best of luck Tanya , move to a district where you have a council person who will support you and classify you as essential .

      Reply
  5. LaNora

    I’m an Electrologist/Esthetician. My message on my answering machine says Thanks to Governor of California I am not allowed to work. I got a call from someone from the state who left me a message saying she was glad I was following the Governors orders but he played it for me to work outside. When I heard this I said this woman and the Governor have no idea what a Electrologist does and the areas I work on. A lot of my clients are Exposing private areas for treatments. I also prepare transgender‘s for future surgeries again private areas. Do you want these people laying out naked in the Street? I’m not in a salon I’m in a Private Office where there is only me and my client, so why can’t I work?

    Reply
  6. Renae Earl

    This is a definite struggle for this industry of state schooled, tested and licensed professionals. We are the only state not opened, we have data and science that backs us as safe, we have also had the CDC use our industry as examples of how to keep people safe. We are state, cal/OSHA and county regulated, we have changed our air filtration systems and implemented every protocol we have been given. It’s time to let us open inside away from the extreme heat, fire ash, smog and unsanitary environments and regulate us like we should be.

    Reply
  7. Keith Pretzer

    Good for her, and shame shame shame on the Board and Newsom. This is obscene what government is doing. I support her 100%.

    Reply

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