News and Commentary

‘Time To Sue’: Some Of California’s Salons, Barbers Prepare To Challenge Governor
LAGUNA HILLS, CA - MAY 05: Customers maintain safety protocols at The BarberHood in Laguna Hills, CA, on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. The shop is one of the first to re-open and defy the state"u2019s stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdown.
Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The Professional Beauty Federation of California will file a lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) in an effort to speed up the reopening timeline for the barber and salon industry, which has been categorized as a phase three high-risk businesses, along with gyms and movie theaters.

“The PBFC has decided to sue Governor Newsom to force him to reopen our salons much sooner than his vowed ‘months not weeks’ timeline,” said the organization in a statement on Thursday, in reference to comments the governor made last month about stage three and four being “months, not weeks” away.

During a press conference on Thursday, the governor explained the reason the state would not allow personal grooming industries to reopen, claiming that the first case of coronavirus in California was contracted from a nail salon.

“This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon,” said Newsom, reports the Los Angeles Times. “I just want to remind everybody of that, and that I’m very worried about that.”

As it turns out, Newsom’s idea to “remind” the public about the origins of the outbreak which reportedly caused a death in California as early as February 9 was actually just as surprising to the nail salon industry.

“I think my brain stopped working and I was saying, what the hell? I never heard anything like that before,” said Kelvin Pham, who co-produced a nail salon documentary called “Nailed It,” reports ABC-7.

Newsom has since distanced himself, at least partially, from his nail salon comments, observing on Friday that he has a “deep reverence for those entrepreneurs” and that phase three “may not even be a month away,” according to the LA Times.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to accommodate the needs of every industry, including the nail salon industry, to make sure we do it in a safe and responsible way,” said Newsom.

Fred Jones, legal counsel for the Professional Beauty Federation, believes Newsom’s comments about nail salons have already damaged the industry.

“I don’t know how you take that back. How do you put that toothpaste back in the tube,” said Jones, reports ABC-7.

According to The Daily Beast, the federation has already made up its mind about challenging the governor, and plans to file a lawsuit on Monday.

“We were 100 percent behind the lockdown, so that we would not overwhelm our hospitals,” Jones told The Daily Beast. “However, after two months of the lockdown, in which, by Gov. Newsom’s own admission, we have succeeded — we have checked the mark, we have flattened the curve.”

“A lot of our stylists are on the brink of starvation in order to make their leases and make ends meet,” said Jones.

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