'Frustrated and suffering': Nail salon owners file second lawsuit against California to reopen

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Nail salons are one industry that has not reopened. And the 600,000 people who work in them are not happy.

They had some hope last week, but it has not materialized for people like Pamela Golightly, who spent this day cleaning and sanitizing her nail salon, once again, even though she cannot see customers.

"It put a target on our back," she said in reference to a statement from Governor Gavin Newsom last month, when he blamed California's first case of COVID-19 on a nail salon.

"I think it was absolutely careless for him to say such a thing without proof," said Golightly.

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

Last week, finally, the Governor's office met with industry representatives who say those staff members walked back the statement.

"It was understood from the call that the first case of COVID-19 did not come from a nail salon," said Tan Nguyen, the president of Advance Beauty College.

In response, on Monday the industry announced a second lawsuit against the state, designed to get people back to work. Fred Jones, attorney for the Professional Beauty Federation of California, filed the first. "We think they singled out a single part of our industry in defamatory terms," he said.

"We are very angry, frustrated and suffering, and need our nail salons to be open," added Nguyen.

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

But, they are not open yet, with no promise of a date. And salon workers are frustrated because they can only guess at what operating guidelines will be.

"I have shields up for manicure and pedicure," said Pamela as she showed us around her salon. She has masks, a sanitizer, a thermometer, but no love right now for California's governor.

"For him to say that and pinpoint our business in the way he did is absolutely deplorable," she said.

Plain talking from a frustrated industry.

RELATED: When can California nail salons reopen? Newsom to meet with lawmakers about guidelines

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