On Aug. 8, a group of over 40 people consisting of hair professionals and their supporters joined a rally in downtown Hollister to push for resuming business indoors under safe conditions. A few days later, some of those professionals travelled to Sacramento to call for the declassification of salons from the same category as restaurants.
“We got through 1,600 hours of sanitation training,” said Haley Dickerson, owner of DeLux Hair Salon in Hollister and organizer of the rally. She spoke with BenitoLink while travelling to the state capitol with Katie Gonzales, a stylist at Salon Déjà Vu Spa.
Dickerson said hair salons know how to keep their space, tools, furniture and sinks as sanitary as possible. She believes that working outdoors is not as safe because she can’t control the environment.
“I cannot control who wears a mask outdoors, but you cannot enter my salon without one,” she said, adding that if the wind comes up, hair could blow around.
Because they can only do dry work outside, salons and barbershops have limited services—they cannot apply color or wash hair. Stylists including Dickerson and Gonzales are color specialists and are still not making enough money to pay rent, health insurance and other expenses.
Gonzales said that because they are seen as choosing not to work when they don’t work outside or don’t make enough money doing so, they are not entitled to unemployment benefits. Dickerson said that they don’t want to rely on government assistance.
“We want to work,” she said.
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