SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Dozens of people rallied in Sacramento Tuesday afternoon as they called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow salons and barbershops to open back up. The owner of Orabella Hair Studio in Oakland and members of California Aesthetic Alliance organized the Pro Beauty Rally.
"This industry has been devastated by COVID," CAA founder, Wendy Cochran said.
In May salons were given the go-ahead to open back up after they were forced to close in March due to the pandemic. It wasn't long before the state ordered shops to close indoor operations on July 13 after coronavirus cases started surging throughout the state of California.
"I think we deserve to have the time and the dialogue with the governor and his team to show them that we can safely perform these services inside," Cochran said.
The group largely believes that the industry is able to conduct business safely indoors.
Under the state's industry guidance select businesses can conduct outdoor operations "...under a tent, canopy, or other sun shelter as long as more than one side is closed, allowing sufficient outdoor air movement."
"We’re the kind of nerds that follow the rules and we want to be legal, we don’t want to work in somebody’s garage or come and do a service on your couch because that’s not legal for us to provide. We want you safe, we want us safe and we want to be inside our salons and our beauty establishments in California," Cochran said.
Despite outdoor services being allowed, Cochran said it's not realistic for everthing.
"I do facials. The majority of my clients are lash extension clients and I can’t really perform those services outside because with the chemistry of the adhesives work."
Many beauty industry workers have had to adjust the way they conduct business, if there is the luxury of doing so.
The Patio Barber Shop owner in Palm Desert, Joe Hernandez has since switched his hours around to be able to provide services in the middle of a desert summer.
"Our schedules, because of the circumstances, have to be adjusted. The morning schedule is perfect from 7 to noon," Hernandez said.
The main seating portion of Hernandez' barbershop is taped off as business has become limited. There have also been other challenges.
"Unfortunately it’s not cost effective. It takes a lot of money to provide the same service outdoors and you need permits, there’s restrictions, there’s health restrictions with being outside. You need ventilation, proper cooling and it’s cost ineffective," Hernandez said.
Hernandez is a 5th generation barber who has been at his shop for 43 years. Since the pandemic began, he's seen a lot of owners take the ultimate hit in the same industry.
"I’ve already seen several businesses go out of business in my field."
Despite the uncertainty of what the future holds, Hernandez is confident the family business will survive with his son who is also a barber.
"We’re not going anywhere," said Hernandez.