PALM SPRINGS – A pair of hair salon owners in this desert community say that new rules announced this week that would allow California hair and nail salons to provide services outdoors simply do not make sense.

The new rules are designed to help personal care services crippled by the state’s shutdown orders but the salon owners say the rules are misguided and miss the mark.

“Honestly the thought process doesn’t make sense,” Adrian Alcantar, owner of Adrian Alcantar Hair Studio & Spa, told Uken Report. “Personal care professionals have been trained in sanitation and disinfection. We spend 1600 hours, or more, in school learning how to make sure our clients are safe and diseases do not spread. We all have taken the new guidelines to heart and invested in PPE (personal protective equipment) and educating our staff to further prevent the spread of COVID.

“We are no longer allowed to double book and must only see one client at a time which has severely impacted our income,” Alcantar said. “Now we are allowed to only perform haircuts outdoors in 110+ degrees; which is not safe for us or our clients. This does not make sense.”

There have been two studies where COVID-positive hair stylists have performed services on hundreds of people, Alcantar said. Both the stylist and client wore masks and there was zero transmission. That is the science. So, to close us down again in direct contradiction to the actual science of the spread of this disease doesn’t make sense.

“Now we look at taking our services outside, in an uncontrolled environment, that poses liability if someone is injured,” Alcantar said. “My insurance agent has said that my policy will not cover me if I do hair outside my establishment. Not to mention, chemical services are two-thirds of my annual revenue and we can no longer perform those services. This is not a solution. It is a Band-Aid that was not well thought out or actually follows the science.

“How many salons can continue to operate this way?” Alcantar asked. “Increased unemployment ends this week and for many of us, we will have to decide how and what we are going to do to provide for our families.

The new rules were announced as Gov. Gavin Newsom reported that infections, hospitalizations and intensive care cases continued increasing but at a slower rate after the state scaled back reopening earlier this month.

“We saw a big increase, now we’re seeing some stabilization,” Newsom said. He noted the rate of positive coronavirus tests fell slightly in the last week to 7.2%.

Virus cases have surged in many parts of California in the last month. In the past two weeks alone, the number of new confirmed cases was nearly 120,000 and there were 1,357 deaths.

The California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency released rules allowing hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, massage therapists and estheticians to offer some personal care services outdoors.

Hair salon owners can operate under tents, canopies or other shelters so long as no more than one side is enclosed, the agency said, allowing for enough outdoor air movement to deter the buildup or spread of the virus.

The rules still prohibit chemical hair services including shampooing, permanent waving, bleaching, tinting, coloring, dyeing and straightening. Electrolysis, tattooing and piercing also are banned.

“People are baking cookies on their dashboards and he (Gov. Newsom) wants us to do hair outside? It’s ridiculous,” Paul Mediano, owner of Heads Up Hair Designs, told Uken Report.

As temperatures hover in the triple digits, Mediano said it would be impossible to process color treatments, which often take a couple of hours or more.

It might, emphasis on might, be an OK idea in communities near the ocean but not desert communities at the height of summer.

The new rules might work for barbers who typically don’t wash, shampoo or apply color, he said.

Setting up a tent would also take at least an hour or more. By then, temperatures are already rising, Mediano said.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “Something’s gotta give.”


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  • Adrian Alcantar: Adrian Alcantar