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Hairdressers, Barbershops Brace For More Financial Hits From COVID Outbreak

In this May 27, 2020 file photo Luis Lopez wears a face mask while giving a hair cut to Alexander Chin at Orange County Barbers Parlor in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Ashley Landis / AP
In this May 27, 2020 file photo Luis Lopez wears a face mask while giving a hair cut to Alexander Chin at Orange County Barbers Parlor in Huntington Beach, Calif.

At A New Twist Salon in Poway, Ellie Blomgren walks through the steps she takes to keep clients safe. On a small table just inside the salon, clients are asked to take a pen from the jar marked “clean pens” before filling out a waiver.

When finished they drop the pen into the “dirty pens” jar before proceeding to have their temperature taken and squirting sanitizer into their hands.

“Our clients tell us they feel safe here,” Blomgren said.

She and her husband have owned this salon for seven years.

“This is beyond, no words,” she said. “They don’t understand taking away our livelihood for everything we have done to keep ourselves safe and keep our clients safe.”

VIDEO: Hairdressers And Barbershops Brace For More Financial Hits

With this second shutdown, many businesses have been allowed to move outside. A New Twist Salon shares a parking lot with a CrossFit gym that has already set up tents outside. But, the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, sent out an announcement reminding personal care businesses that they are not approved to cut hair outside of their licensed establishments.

"The state of California can give us any leeway they want to, but if the state board tells us ‘No, you can’t do that,’ they’re our governing body,” Blomgren said. “We have to do what they say and we can get fined or actually lose our license.”

On Tuesday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilmember Chris Cate sent a letter to the office of the governor asking him to take executive action to allow these businesses to work outside. But Blomgren says working outside is not a solution.

“I wouldn't want to work outside. We are limited as far as what we can do outdoors. We can cut hair, but we can't do color. We have to have somewhere to rinse them," Blomgren said. "And in the 80-degree weather, I can't imagine doing hair outside or have our clients be comfortable sitting outside in the heat.”

She said while cutting hair outside may seem feasible, 80% of her income comes from performing color services. If any amendments are made, she hopes it would be to allow hairdressers to work in the comfort and safety of their salons, she added.

“They don't understand what we've done to make it safe in here. I don't understand why outside is better. I just don't,” Blomgren said. “I feel I'm safer in this environment, and my clients are, than going to a grocery store. In the grocery store, you're exposed to a lot more. Here it's controlled. It's you and your stylist.”