By Fred Jones, PBFC Legal Counsel
As of today (March 16), government and private-sector responses to the growing coronavirus threat continue to ramp up.
Governor Newsom issued a rare, Sunday Executive Order which seeks to minimize the spread of this virus in the Golden State by shutting down or limiting some commercial venues like restaurants, bars, brewpubs and wineries, while outlining “social distancing” requirements for movie theaters and other larger venues.
So far, salons and beauty schools haven’t been directly addressed, though many are voluntarily and proactively taking steps to ensure the protection of their clientele, workers and students (like checking fevers and sending people home, stepping up disinfection protocols, establishing distance learning opportunities for newer students still taking theoretical instruction courses, etc.). But the State Board just announced that they will be discontinuing their administration of all licensing exams effective tomorrow, so restrictive actions could be forthcoming in the coming days.
CDC has recommended discontinuing all gatherings of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks, and everyone is watching the Trump Administration for any national orders that could be forthcoming in the coming days.
This is a very fluid situation, as public officials and private citizens who understand the threat this new virus poses do their part to flatten the contagion curve so as to not overwhelm our healthcare professionals and facilities. We all want to avoid here at home what is happening to Italy and which could easily spread north throughout all of continental Europe in the coming days.
California has a helpful website that is being updated hourly, which provides latest recommendations and resources being made available to small businesses impacted by this state of emergency: california coronavirus information
And finally a personal observation: as I watch my retirement fund nosedive, as I consider the thin profit margins of salon owners, and as I reflect upon individual stylists living off their tips and modest wages, I know that eventually the “cure” could outweigh the risks inherent with this dreaded disease … as the health and well being of many more millions will be threatened by economic ruin than this Chinese-originated virus. But I don’t think we’ve reached that economic tipping point quite yet.
Like a cancer patient utilizing cell-killing chemotherapy, the goal is to eradicate the disease without killing the patient in the process. It’s a delicate balancing act, and that is what our society, writ large, is attempting in the early days of this contagion. I think, like chemo, we need to swallow this bitter economic pill … at least for the next several weeks. We are Americans with civic duties to one another, always rising to global threats of this magnitude. We will again!