Beverly Hills Salons Want Full Reopening
On Aug. 24, roughly two dozen personal care professionals gathered in Beverly Hills at the Beverly Gardens Park to peacefully protest the continued closure of all businesses providing cosmetology services. While most businesses have been permitted to reopen following public health guidelines, the over 600,000 licensed beauticians in the state remain unable to work. Holding signs that read “open our salons” and “barbers are essential,” the crowd chanted “we want to work!”
The protest was organized by Eric Taylor, the owner of Salon Republic, a hair salon with locations in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and West Hollywood. Earlier this month, Taylor organized a protest in Westwood outside the Federal Building promoting the same message. Using the hashtag #opensalonsnow, the group has generated a big following on social media.
After Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the temporary closures of these businesses in mid-March, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) issued an updated health order on June 19 allowing for personal care services such as nail salons, spas offering aesthetic and massage services and businesses providing cosmetology services to reopen at limited capacity once infection control and distancing requirements were met.
That news was short lived. Roughly three weeks later, on July 13, Gov. Newsom closed salons once again as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to rise across California. On July 21, Public Health released an updated order allowing personal care establishments, including hair salons and barber shops, to perform services outside. Some argue that working conditions outside pose their own different set of risks.
Celebrity hair stylist and salon owner, Cristophe Schatteman told the Courier that he has written to Gov. Newsom, asking that he revisit the hair salon closures. He outlined a 15-point safety protocol that his salon has put in place, including a state-of-the-art ventilation system providing 99.9 percent virus-free air flow, mandatory face masks and face shields, 12 feet of social distancing, temperature checks, contactless payments, six foot-high acrylic partitions throughout the salon, and a concierge service to continually clean all stations.
“This is the saftest place to be other than your own home,” Cristophe told the Courier. “Doing hair outside, I feel it’s really not appropriate because first of all, you’re in working 105 degrees temperature right now. It’s very hard just to sterilize all your equipment and make sure that your environment is sterilized as well. So, I think that, you know, it’s time to reopen salons if it is done properly.”
Umberto Savone, owner of UMBERTO Beverly Hills on Canon Drive, has a different point of view. “Our clients feel that outside is the safest place for them to be. We can’t control the pandemic but we can control our environment and so I built UMBERTO Open Air Salon for them,” Savone told the Courier.
After converting the alley near his shop into a full-service salon, Umberto reopened—for the second time—the first week of August.
Dani Faraj, owner of Brighton Salon, told the Courier that local professionals are doing their best to cope. “Hair service personnel are the most efficient and clean since we follow state protocol already. Prior to covid, we are very sanitary. It actually hurt the salons in the Triangle, forcing most salons to relocate, close or downsize because stylists are doing house calls—not our stylists— but those around. It’s changing the industry, not for the better. We are open outdoors and have a very clean and safe environment. We are here for the long term and welcome any new stylists that want to rent our stations. I’ve also extended my salon chairs setup outdoors to neighbors that don’t have access to outdoor setup for no charge until this is over,” said Faraj.