Nearly 60 days after being told to close their doors, California cosmetologists want answers — or at least some communication — about the future of their businesses.
Shannon Marlin is a Northern California-based stylist and owner of Maverique Style House and Spanish Fly Hair Garage. As the state begins the slow process of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, both of her salons are considered Phase 3 businesses, a categorization that includes what Governor Gavin Newsom considers “higher risk” businesses such as hair and nail salons, barbershops, gyms, and live sporting events without audiences. In late April, the Governor said in a press conference these businesses would be “months, not weeks away” from opening, but on May 8 he stated Phase 3 openings may actually not “be more than a month away.”
California entered Phase 2 in early May after the state saw its first week-over-week decline in deaths. The second phase allows retail stores to reopen with curbside pickup, as well as schools, childcare facilities, non-essential manufacturing, and offices where working remotely isn’t possible. However, this potentially shortened timeline isn’t confirmed and is confusing, as some epidemiologists predict Phase 3 is still several months away and Los Angeles County recently extended stay-at-home orders until July. It feels unfairly long to many cosmetologists, especially since proper cleaning and sanitizing is such a huge part of their standard training to become licensed in the state. Cosmetologists like Marlin are confused as to when they may get back to work, what they need to do to prepare, and feel there’s been little communication between licensees and the state board during the pandemic.