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Assemblyman Goes to Bat for COVID Shuttered Nail & Hair Salons



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With many hair and nail salons forcibly closed due to the pandemic, one Assemblyman says it’s time to do better.

Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to quickly develop guidelines for safe indoor operations of nail and hair salons. California is the only state in the country that doesn’t allow beauty salons to open indoors.

Kalra hasn’t received a response from Newsom, but he said he expects an answer soon.

This comes on the heels of a statewide protest Aug. 17, when some salons opened in defiance of the state order. It also comes after a high-profile local battle involving a Tower District salon that opened because the owner said her back was up against the wall financially.

“Let’s give these businesses a sense that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for them. We know that we can create a safer environment indoors.” – Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose)

Being in Limbo

Kalra says being in limbo isn’t working for salon customers, employees, and owners.

“I think there is a way to thread that needle,” Kalra told GV Wire℠ by Zoom from outside the Assembly chambers. “I’m asking the governor to really work to find that common ground.”

Kalra says he’s open to this being a county-by-county decision, but he at least wants guidelines to help formulate a path forward.

“Let’s give these businesses a sense that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for them,” said Kalra. “We know that we can create a safer environment indoors.”

Economically Devastated

Immigrants own many of the nail salons in his district, Kalra said. And, the closures hurt businesses started 10, 20, or 30 years ago.

“In my district, just like it’s been the case in many others, it’s been pretty devastating.”

He recently visited several of those salons and understands their frustrations. He knows these businesses went to the trouble of installing plexiglass separators and new sanitation equipment — only to open for one day before being shut back down.

Trained in Sanitation

“They’re already trained on how to keep a sanitary environment,” said Kalra. “We’re talking about responsible operators that know what they’re doing.

“As I’m sitting here, there’s literally ash on the ground here on the portico of the Capitol from all the wildfires, so that we know that’s not a solution, especially for some of the kinds of services offered. You can’t do a lot of them outdoors.”

Tower District’s Salon Posh Owner Reacts

GV Wire℠ reached out to Salon Posh owner Tanya Alvarado for her reaction to Kalra’s letter.

“He pretty much took the words out of my mouth,” said Alvarado.

“He pretty much took the words out of my mouth.”Tanya Alvarado, Salon Posh owner reacting to an Assemblyman’s effort 

Alvarado reopened her Tower District salon on Tuesday, Aug. 18, but shut down three days later after receiving a $1,075 fine from the city with a threat of an additional $5,000 fine if she remained open.

Alvarado says that she’s lost $30,000 during the pandemic shutdown.

A fundraiser has generated enough support to cover her fine.

I am astonished at the amount of support I’ve received from family, friends and the public. As you all may know, our…

Posted by Salon Posh on Sunday, August 23, 2020


Current State Guidance

California hair and nail salons can only provide services outdoors.

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. This allows 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. The ban also applies to electrolysis, tattooing, and piercing.