'This is not going to work': East Bay hair salon choosing not to reopen outdoors amid coronavirus pandemic

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ByMelissa Pixcar KGO logo
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Walnut Creek hair salon choosing not to reopen outdoors amid COVID-19
Beauty Lounge and Wine Bar in Walnut Creek is choosing not to reopen for outdoor services for the safety of their clients.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Beauty Lounge and Wine Bar in Walnut Creek is choosing not to reopen for outdoor services for the safety of their clients after spending a lot of money reopening their salon last month.

On July 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all hair salons and barbershops on California's watch list to close all indoor services after a surge in coronavirus cases.

Last month, ABC7 East Bay Community Journalist, Melissa Pixcar gave us an inside look into what it took to reopen Beauty Lounge under the new safety guidelines. The salon had their doors open for a total of 12 days before they had to shut their doors for a second time amid the pandemic.

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However on July 20, Gov. Newsom rolled back on closures by allowing salons to operate outdoors, but not all services are permitted.

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Salons are allowed to provide dry haircuts to clients and are not permitted to provide shampoos or chemical treatments.

"This is not going to work," said Vanessa Barros, stylist at Beauty Lounge and Wine Bar in Walnut Creek. "You can't work outside if you are a colorist. Ninety-seven percent of my work is color specialty. I wish we can come to some sort of compromise that will work for everybody."

The Beauty Lounge and Wine Bar operates as a high-end hair salon. By only providing dry hair cuts would just be a drop in the bucket for the salon.

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"We have spent thousands of dollars just to reopen our salon and most of us, salon owners are probably in debt," said Noemi Woods, owner of Beauty Lounge and Wine Bar. "Now they are asking us to spend thousands of dollars more to open outside. It is just not feasible. We just don't have the funds anymore."

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Hair stylists are required to take health and sanitation test before obtaining a cosmetology license.

"We are trained for over 1,600 hours on safety and health on keeping our clients safe," said Larry Paskow, stylist at Beauty Lounge and Wine Bar. "It doesn't make any sense how sitting on a patio, eating without a mask on is safer than having my client sit in my chair in a sanitary environment that I can control."

Woods is not only concerned about making ends meet, she is worried about the safety of her clients and the high temperatures that can hit the East Bay.

"To open properly, a lot of clients said maybe you can't just put a tent. It is not that basic," said Woods. "It is not a very healthy situation for our clients. They can get a heat stroke. All these issues made it impossible for us to work outside."

"The reason why I made my decision was for safety and health issues," said Woods. "We are not going to have our clients suffer outside for an hour when they have to have a plastic cape, a mask and they can't drink water. I am not going to do that to make a few dollars. Even the few dollars that I make won't pay for the overhead that it requires for me to keep the business open."

If matters couldn't get worse, the Beauty Lounge and Wine Bar does not have the space to operate outdoors. The salon shares a parking lot with multiple essential businesses.

"We do not have the room to do it. In this shopping area, we don't have anywhere we can go, " said Woods. "Trying to drag all of this equipment everyday is not feasible. It is not only heavy, you won't be able to do it on your own. This equipment is meant to be in a salon."

Stylist hope they can reopen their doors and provide their services indoors. Their biggest worry is they won't be able to come back to their second home.

"I have not wanted to admit the reality that we might not reopen," said Paskow. "It is hard for me to think that a place that I have been at for ten years might be the last time that I set foot in here."

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