Nail salons outraged, ask Newsom for proof of 1st COVID-19 community spread

ByMelanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
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The nail salon industry in California is calling for answers after Governor Gavin Newsom announced the first community case of COVID-19 happened in at a Nail Salon.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The nail salon industry in California is calling for answers after Governor Gavin Newsom announced the first community case of COVID-19 happened in a nail salon.

As parts of California move into "Phase 2" of the stay at home order, hair and nail salons remain closed.

RELATED: Phase 3: Gov. Newsom teases next stage of reopening California businesses is closer than we thought

When asked Thursday why salons are part of "Phase 3" and not "Phase 2," Gov. Newsom said, "This whole thing started in the state of California the first community spread in a nail salon."

"I think my brain stopped working and I was saying, what the hell? I never heard anything like that before," said Kelvin Pham, co-producer of the documentary Nailed It which explores the history of the Vietnamese Nail Salon.

"Second thought is the impact, the impact of his remark, what it can have not only on the nail industry, but particularly the Vietnamese nail industry," said Pham. "We came here to this country as refugees, left our country, not because we want to but because we had to."

Friday, when asked to clarify the origin of California's first community case, Gov. Newsom called the nail salon industry noble and said he had "deep reverence for those entrepreneurs."

RELATED: First case of COVID-19 community spread in California tracked to nail salon, Newsom reveals in press conference

"It's just a factual statement and it was not a statement to be extrapolated as an indictment, quite the contrary of an industry I deeply respect," said Newsom.

But some say the damage is already done.

"I don't know how you take that back. How do you put that toothpaste back in the tube," said Fred Jones, counsel and a public policy advocate for the Professional Beauty Federation of California.

PBFC issued a press release Thursday morning prior to the Governor's press conference, that it would file a lawsuit against Gov. Newsom to allow for the safe reopening of salons and barbershops in California as soon as possible.

"Why was this a bombshell kind of out of left field, the timing is what's suspect," said Jones.

Gov. Newsom Friday suggested it wasn't a bombshell.

Reopening California: Everything we know about CA businesses opening Friday and what comes next

"Interestingly, was picked up yesterday, I've mentioned it on a couple of occasions in the past," said Newsom.

"Where's the proof? We all lost, we're still waiting," said Pham.

Newsom would not say.

"There are health and personal privacy obligations that are bigger than any public statements that have to be abided by legal parameters as it relates to that first case," said the Governor.

"I hope people will not take this remark and use it to take down an industry that is so amazing that provides so much opportunities for this group of refugees," said Pham.

"To the extent legally and those health considerations could be made more public we'll make them more public," said Newsom.

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