STOCKTON, Calif. — Without warning Wednesday, uniformed officers with the California Department of Consumer Affairs entered the Pomp Salon in North Stockton's upscale Lincoln Center.
"About five armed state police officers burst into our salon shouting drop everything you're doing. Stop, you're being shut down," said Vicki Kirk, salon co-owner.
Kirk said the officers spent an hour inside questioning why the seven-year-old salon with forty stylists was open in the midst of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
On cell phone video recorded by Kirk, defiant stylists challenged police officers with their own questions.
"It was one of the worst days of my life to have that scene happen in our salon when we are only trying to work," said Kirk.
Adding to the confusion, Kirk said that, two days prior, the state sent an inspector out to make sure the salon was following proper safety protocols.
"She said it looked like we were doing a good job and she left," Kirk said.
The Department of Consumer Affairs Investigation Division issued the salon three misdemeanor citations.
Despite that, Pomp Salon remained open once the officers left.
"Why does a hair salon have to close, but Target can stay open and Walmart can stay open? Where's the connection? And, what's the specific infection rate you're attributing to these salons?" said Dino Ballin, Kirk's husband and salon co-owner.
When shut down orders happened during the summer, Ballin went on vacation and closing up the salon.
He cut it short when stylists texted him and pleaded with him to reopen because they were broke.
“These stylists were promised assistance by the government that they never got. In some cases, some of my stylists downstairs, still to this day, have not gotten any assistance since March, since the closures in March," Ballin said.
Statewide since July first, California's Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has cited just two businesses: Pomp Salon and Primo's Barbershop in Vacaville.
In a statement to ABC10 the Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the Board, said, in part, that "The Board has conducted approximately 14,000 inspections at licensed establishments since the beginning of the pandemic. Any establishment that doesn't comply with the public health orders that have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 may be subject to disciplinary action. Licensees that violate public health orders may be subject to disciplinary action against their license."
The DCA also said it's up to the local district attorney's office to pursue these misdemeanor citations.
When we contacted the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office, they issued this statement:
"It appears that the Department of Consumer Affairs took it upon their own initiative to do a surprise raid on Pomp Salon in Lincoln Center. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office was not notified of this raid in advance and in no way participated or sanctioned it. To our knowledge, no other salons or businesses were targeted in the county."
Kirk said the salon will continue to remain open.
"We just want to keep our homes. We just want to feed our families," Kirk said.
ABC10: Watch, Download, Read