Beauty Shop Employees in the Bay Area Strike Protests Against Recent Stay-at-Home Orders

5 mins read

Bay Area Salon Employees Open Their Business Doors to Protest Against State Legislation

Due to another surge of coronavirus cases emerging across the Bay Area, state officials have announced stay-at-home orders on Friday. With the third lockdown fast approaching, the region’s beauty industry laborers organized a silent protest against the newly imposed regulations. Activists involved argued that they would have no means to survive the ongoing pandemic if beauty salons and parlors would close their doors once again.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, several of the Bay Area’s beauty shops halted business as early as March. As California’s economy suffers a severe recession, salon workers’ livelihoods also got affected by the moneymaking slump. A couple of months after the pandemic, beauty industry protesters have once again decided to voice out their pleas of allowing parlors to reopen amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The rebellion started in August this year, where beauty laborers did not organize rallies as most activists have done in the past. Instead, workers showed their defiance against California’s stay-at-home regulations by reopening their businesses around the state. The event served as an emotional act for many, determined to make the government see their desire to resume operations and earn money to survive the epidemic.

The “Open Safe California” Movement and Salon Owners’ Stands on the Matter

Angry stylists called this movement “Open Safe California,” where owners open their businesses without providing beauty services. Additionally, several salon workers also use social media platforms to voice their protests by trending the hashtag #SaveOurSalons.

In Pleasanton, Flaunt Hair Designs owner Christine Palmer reopened her establishment. She did it not to attend to her customers’ hair needs. According to Palmer, her participation’s goal is to make the government see that she can follow coronavirus health protocols while remaining open for business. She also added that no one could sway her stand to resume work.

The rebellious act Palmer did consist of many other salon laborers’ rage, and fury against the state for keeping beauty shops closed since March. According to many reformers, the business shutoffs have lasted way too many months, resulting in hundreds of people affected left to scrape their pockets for every day’s survival.

On August 17, several police officers paid a visit to one of Dublin’s salons called the Justin Michael Salon. Carina Campo, the store owner, expressed her shock with the sudden inspection. According to her, people must have thought that the shop caters to patrons needing hair treatments to notify the authorities. However, Campo clarified that she and her colleagues only opened the shop to speak up against the region’s established lockdowns. She also felt relieved that the cops didn’t see any salon activity for the establishment to pay a violation fine of $1000.

Like Palmer and Campo, multiple beauty salon keepers in San Francisco also joined the stand. For instance, the city’s reWAXation establishment reopened its business doors and openly disregarded health regulations. According to store holder Shayana Flick, her utmost priority is to survive the epidemic by maintaining her store’s operations. She also noted that the action is a matter of either finding work elsewhere or re-opening against state rules.

Resuming Salon Businesses in Secret and Its Possible Consequences

Several salon owners also disclosed to news reporters that many stylists within the country do the re-opening through “speakeasy-style.” The method consists of storekeepers holding up a “CLOSED” sign on their front doors and covering their establishment windows with black paint. Clients and patrons, however, get tipped by beauty business employees to knock on the back door so that they can access haircuts in secret.

The technique may look promising on the outside, but some hairstylists get worried by people who follow such a practice. Fusion3 Salon owner Larry Philips shared his worries about it to the media. According to Philips, many salons that adhere to that type of method often imposes no social distancing protocols inside their stores. He also noted that several beauty shop employees offer home services, which is not the best idea considering the possibility of interacting with people who may have contracted the virus.

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