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California lawmaker calls for Governor Newsom to allow salons, barbershops to operate outdoors

"If restaurants can have people without masks on eating, we should be able to, like right now, do hair outside."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Just days after Governor Gavin Newsom ordered hair salons, barbershops and personal care services to close for a second time, a California lawmaker is now demanding those same businesses be allowed to operate outside. 

Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R - Fresno) sent a letter to Newsom's office on Thursday, signed by the Professional Beauty Federation of California and himself, just three days after the governor said certain sectors will need to close indoor operations and move outdoors amid a surge of coronavirus cases.

Patterson even started an online petition to move salons outdoors.

But the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology said, the way their regulations are written right now, moving outside is not allowed.

"The regulation and bureaucracy is getting in the way of this, and the governor needs to lift these kinds of bureaucratic hurdles, the way he has lifted them for restaurants through Alcohol Beverage Control," Patterson said.

Cheri Gyuro, a spokesperson for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, said the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology is "exploring options" to help salons operate during the pandemic.

"The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology understands the effect shutdowns have on businesses and is sensitive to that," Gyuro said in a statement. "As it stands at this moment, under current laws and regulations, the services cannot be performed outside."

Ana Castro, owner of Candibird Salon in Sacramento,  has been doing hair for more than 20 years.

Castro said moving business outside in effort to keep her salon operating throughout the pandemic is "a pretty simple solution." She says she would fully support the idea of moving her business to the sidewalk in front of her business in Midtown.

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"I mean it's hot, but we'll make it work, but I think it will be fun," Castro said. "I think it would liven up the neighborhood. We could get misters out there, we could make it a fun time. We'll do what we need to do basically."

However, this is an option that won't necessarily work for every salon. Lisa Kraft, owner of Honey Salon in Sacramento, said the summer weather is too much of a deterrent.

But Kraft says she would adjust her hours to specifically work around the heat since this would beat the alternative of making no money at all.

"There is no other option, we can't go to people's homes, it's illegal to have clients at our homes, at this point, that's the only option is, I would say, outside," Castro said.

Castro added that the state should look toward the food sector for guidelines on how salons and barbershops could operate.

"If restaurants can have people without masks on eating, we should be able to, like right now, do hair outside," Castro said.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Lena Howland.

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