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Hairstylists to rally at the Capitol to demand salons re-open

The group is pushing for all salons to re-open for indoor service because they say working outdoors is not safe and unsanitary.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Hairstylists from around California will rally at the State Capitol Tuesday, demanding the governor allow hair and nail salons to re-open.

Hundreds of beauty professionals from as far as Fresno and San Diego are expected to attend the “Pro Beauty Rally,” organized by an Oakland salon owner. The group is pushing for all salons to reopen for indoor service because they say working outdoors is not safe or sanitary.

Currently, California only allows hair salons, barbershops, and nail salons to open outdoors with restrictions similar to restaurants and bars. However, demonstrators say beauty businesses should not be grouped with bars, indoor dining, and family entertainment.

 "We should have different guidelines, we should not have to follow the same guidelines [as bars and restaurants],” rally organizer Alicia Orabella said.

According to Orabella, that’s exactly what they’re trying to prove at Tuesday’s demonstration. 

“Customers are better protected indoors, there’s no question about it,” she said. “We are not able to safely sanitize our environment because we are outside. Inside we have already followed the protocols that have been set in place already.”

Orabella runs a hair salon in Oakland and, after seeing many of her friends in the beauty salon industry losing their jobs, she decided it was time to do something about it. 

“We just ask that they listen to us,” she said.

Orabella says she and most of her colleagues are concerned about the unsanitary practices she’s seeing at many outdoor hair and nail salons.

“Outside is not a safe environment. I’m seeing nail salons down the streets that are doing pedicures in front of a dumpster. That is no way sanitary,” she explained.

Additionally, Orabella says she wants new long-term solutions to keep the state's beauty industry open, not constant changes that hurt it. 

“We want them to allow us to open safely when they see fit to keep us open so we don’t get shut down again,” she said.

She is aware that changing current state orders that only allow outdoor operations at salons is complicated, but she says it’s worth at least trying. Her salon has been closed since March and if guidelines continue to change, she fears she’ll have to shut down forever.

Tuesday’s rally, which obtained a permit from California Highway Patrol (CHP), will consist of barbers and cosmetologists from across the state who will be cutting fake hair on doll heads placed on tripods. Nail salon workers will also participate by binging manicuring tables with fake hands. All demonstrators will wear masks ad a hand sanitizing station will be available, Orabella said.

The demonstration is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the South steps of the Capitol.

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