Salons face new challenges amid outdoor requirements

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 20:39:13-04

SAN DIEGO — Tony Ganaway took full advantage of the space in front of him.

He had three tents set up in the parking lot of the College Area strip mall where he and his colleagues could deliver haircuts outside.

"It's on us as owners and entrepreneurs to sit here and find a way everyday," said Ganaway, who owns the Cutt'n Edge barber shop. 'Hearing the word 'no' is something you've got to get used to when you're trying to make it in life."

Ganaway says the afternoon was busy as people lined up for his signature service.

It was the first day operating under new state rules for haircuts to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus. The rules allowed hair stylists to operate outdoors, or under shaded coverings that allow normal airflow.

The rules also restrict the kinds of services that can be conducted outdoors, including eliminating big money makers like coloring services. For some salons, that's a deal breaker and they'd rather just stay closed.

"It's business suicide for our industry," said Corinne Lam, who decided not to reopen Salotto Salon in Rancho Bernardo. "It's unsanitary, the elements are uncontrollable, people will be sweating under cutting capes, and it is just unfathomable."

In a statement, the California Department of Consumer affairs stood by the new rules.

"The situation is fluid and the environment is constantly changing, but for now, personal care facilities that are on the statewide monitoring list must follow the Governor's directive not to operate services indoors," spokeswoman Cheri Gyuro said.

Lam said regular haircuts make up just 15 percent of her business, and she spent $4,000 making the inside of her salon safer. Meanwhile, she's exhausted all of the Paycheck Protection Program funds that helped her through the first shutdown,