SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles against California Gov. Gavin Newsom on behalf of hair stylists and salon owners across the state.
The beauty industry professionals are suing Gov. Newsom, state Attorney General Xaiver Becerra and others, for classifying the industry as “non-essential” and keeping the businesses from reopening until phase three of the state’s plan.
“This is an action taken to restore the liberty rights that are guaranteed by our state and our federal constitution to each of these professionals,” said attorney Harmeet Dhillon. “This is not an action to force any particular person who does not choose to return to work to do so.”
The Center for American Liberty and Dhillon Law Group are representing the Professional Beauty Federation of California (PBFC) as well as individual hair salon owners.
PBFC represents more than half a million members in California.
“We’re looking at two months later, no sign of relief,” said San Diego resident Corinne Lam, owner of Salotto Salon & Blowdry Lounge. “I am not cutting a paycheck.”
Lam is named as one of the plaintiff’s in the lawsuit. She has owner her salon for 13 years and now her businesses has suffered financially during the state lock down.
“My husband and I are both stylist in our salon, so this is all we have,” she explained. “We’re just basically fighting for our livelihood at this point.”
Although there’s no clear answer as to when she will be able to reopen as part of phase three, she’s preparing to do so safely.
“Putting plexiglass dividers between stations, we've purchases face shields, we'll have masks, gloves,” she said. “We'll be working at probably less than half capacity just for the distancing aspect.”
Newsom has allowed some businesses considered low risk to reopen with restrictions under phase two, but salons and barber shops are considered higher risk, which is why they fall under phase three.
“Our industry is already state mandated to uphold certain health and safety laws,” said Lam. “Our industry is more prepared to be a phase two business.”
The lawsuit quotes Newsom saying “We have successfully bent and arguably flattened the curve.” It goes on to claim “By Defendant Newsom’s own admission, the basis for the Governor’s Order is now resolved and the Governor’s Order should be regarded as null and void, particularly as it pertains to fundamental rights. Defendants must now show compelling state interests requiring them to maintain the Orders and their onerous, invasive requirements.”
Newsom recently said the spread of the coronavirus in California started in a nail salon. Dhillon claims his remarks were a response to the announcement of the lawsuit.
For now, Lam is anxiously waiting to welcome her clients into her salon once again.
“The goal is to have my industry seen in a different light, for the governor to know that we have these qualifications and classifications already in place,” said Lam. “All I'm hoping for is a chance to do the best I can.”