Another month, another column focusing on the invisible enemy that at least here in California continues to lay waste to our economy, our industry and our livelihoods. Well, to be more precise, COVID is wreaking havoc in terms of contagion spread here in the Golden State, but our state and municipal leaders are the ones devastating our salons.
As of print time, California salons, barbershops, spas and even our beauty colleges all remain in an indefinite lockdown, going on 5 months now! To be fair to our Governor, in response to our lawsuit and concerted #OpenSalonsNow campaign, he did briefly capitulate and allowed our shops to reopen back in late May, but he reimposed the latest round of lockdowns on July 13.
We have growing data that our salons had nothing to do with the increased number of positives. Some creative salon suite chains, product distributors and others have developed a social media campaign to track and report how many services we performed during our six week reopening and how little COVID contagions resulted.
But the Governor doesn’t seem to notice or care. The situation for California establishment owners and behind-the-chair professional remains bleak. If they haven’t already gone underground in defiance to these on-again/off-again and now indefinite lockdowns, they are teetering on the edge of insolvency and closing their shops for good.
Either of these stark choices is unacceptable. Doing our services house-to-house, kitchen-by-kitchen, could potentially spread more than just good cheer and needed beauty services; and closing one’s shop for good is simply too emotionally difficult for us to contemplate — yet we’ve heard of hundreds who have done so in the past two weeks, alone. Watch those numbers spike in the coming weeks, much faster than any COVID spread!
That is why the PBFC has stepped up big-time to defend our livelihoods from a heavy-handed, shoot-from-the-hip Governor who is totally fixated on the impossible task of stopping COVID dead in its tracks … and marginalizing a well educated/trained licensed profession that he should be partnering with instead of kicking to the curb.
Governor Newsom often hides behind a single word to justify this economic ruination: SCIENCE. He has wielded it as both a sword — to lay waste to our economy, and as a shield — to deflect all political accountability. “Hey, it isn’t my fault! I simply followed ‘The SCIENCE’!”
Well, enter stage left the single most trusted source of cutting-edge science related to this dreaded COVID: the CDC.
On July 17 they officially published a report that endorsed the safety protocols that all of our salons/shops have implemented, including the use of masks by our stylists and clientele:
Well, Governor Newsom … how ‘bout them apples?!
The PBFC has been organizing our huge California beauty industry of over 620,000 licensed professionals to peaceably, intelligently and persuasively push back against the one guy in the largest state in the union who holds the fate of our entire industry.
We have hundreds of hours of formal education in sanitation; implemented stepped up safety protocols in our shops and booths; gathered contact tracing data showing our effectiveness in preventing the spread; and now have the backing of the CDC. What more could our Governor ask of his state licensed professionals?
He can no longer ignore the science, or disrespect our training, our license and our ability to keep our beloved clientele safe. We will not allow him to continue to bury his head to the rampant and growing underground defiance to his lockdown orders. It’s up to us, as licensed professionals with a united and loud voice, to demand Governor Newsom #OpenSalonsNow !
(and edited version of this column appeared in the August “California Stylist” magazine”)
(since submitting this column for publication, the PBFC has started a Legal Defense Fund to protect establishments who prioritize COVID-compliant safety protocols and reopen without the approval of Governor Newsom)