Coronavirus Impact: Hair stylists, freelancers in beauty industry struggling during COVID-19 crisis

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Hair stylists, freelancers struggling amid COVID-19 crisis
Many freelancers, including workers in the beauty industry, are feeling the impact of the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order. Mayor London Breed announced a response and recovery fund to help small businesses in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tracy Stanwick is guiding her client's husband step-by-step while he dyes her hair. She's not getting paid for her expertise.

"It's just upsetting to know that you've put a lot of work into an 11-year salon and you don't know if you're going to be open next month. That's what's hard," said Tracy Stanwick, the owner of Salon Belle de Soir in San Francisco.

And she's not alone. Many in the beauty industry are freelancers, individual workers who are losing money every single day.

"Between the business that I do between my store and my makeup I lost at least $10,000," Stylist and the owner of Closet 1951, Ilona Rinenberg said.

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According to San Francisco's Chamber of Commerce, there are over 175,000 small businesses in the city and many of them are freelancers or individual workers.

One of them is aesthetic eyelash extensions expert, Lena Mishenki who's concerned about how the COVID-19 crisis will affect her business in the long run.

"I work very close with people, so I'm definitely going to be out of work," said Mishenki.

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Bridgette Slattery is a brow shaping expert who looked for ways to receive air from the city during this crisis. The only help she found was and application for COVID-19 for small businesses.

But Bridgette like every other freelancer does not qualify for this fund.

To qualify freelancers would have to form a business of their own and hire at least one person and even then there might not be enough money from the city.

"Because that pool of money is limited and by the time you apply there may not be enough money for everyone," said Jay Chen with San Francisco's Chamber of Commerce.

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed also announced the Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund where corporations are making tax-deductible donations. So far nearly $250,000 has been raised and it will be used for housing, food security workers, and small businesses

"We need to make sure that they are also included in what we're providing to the public," said Mayor London Breed.

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