The Professional Beauty Federation of California, which represents more than 600,000 California licensed salon and beauty professionals, has taken a big step towards supporting the beauty and salon industry.
The professional organization announced on Friday that the beauty and salon industry, along with restaurants, have filed a lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom over his regional stay-at-home order and are seeking to force the immediate and permanent reopening of small and proven-safe businesses.
At the moment, California is currently facing its third lockdown — a decision that was triggered by the state’s rising ICU bed capacity. As a result of the order, salons and barbershops, along with many other small businesses, have been forced to close their doors for the time being.
According to the press release, the suit alleges that despite being now ten months into lockdowns, the State of California has failed to produce any “data and science” justifying the criminalization of the services that these licensed professionals provide in their communities.
“What has become obvious is that the Governor and so called health officials never followed ‘science or data’ on closing down outdoor dining or capricious lockdowns of safe barbershops and beauty salons,” said Mark Geragos, a high-profile Los Angeles attorney and lead counsel for the suit. “Instead of following the science, they followed the lobbyists and allowed film companies to utilize hairstylists and makeup artists, while preventing the same services to be done in salons by the very same trained professionals. By definition this is ‘unequal treatment under the law.’”
PBFC President Ted Nelson is in agreement, noting that Newsom’s orders have been devastating for the salon and barbering industry.
“Cutting hair is a criminal act in only one State in the Union,” noted Nelson. “Governor Newsom is arbitrarily and needlessly destroying the livelihoods of state licensed professionals who have the formal education and training to keep their clientele safe from infections, as the CDC has acknowledged. Shame on him!”
For an industry that is vastly made-up of women-owned and operated establishments as well as a huge percentage of first generation immigrants and LGBT folx, the effects of Newsom’s lockdowns have been particularly damaging. Salon and barbershop professionals have been laid off, furloughed, or have struggled with economic uncertainty and many business owners have been left feeling unsure on whether their businesses will even survive another lockdown.
“Our small business, less financed and politically connected than multinational corporations, Hollywood and other so-called ‘essential businesses’ have become the go-to sacrificial lambs to the Covid gods,” said PBFC Counsel and Advocate Fred Jones. “This has been ruinous for thousands of our establishments and the livelihood of tens of thousands, without any justifiable basis.”
For its part, the State appears to claim that they are acting in the best interest of public health, noting the 15% ICU capacity trigger as justification for the forced salon closures. However, it doesn’t help that Newsom’s administration has reportedly failed to disclose key information that would help determine whether his lockdown orders can be lifted.
Coronavirus cases have continued to surge at an alarming rate throughout much of the state and there has been a record-breaking number of deaths this winter. In fact, California reported its deadliest day on Jan. 8th after recording over 700 new COVID-19 deaths. According to The Los Angeles Times, the state has surpassed 3 million positive cases and has averaged nearly 36,000 new cases a day.
It remains to be seen what the final ruling will be on this case. In the meantime, we encourage you to read the full lawsuit here and check back regularly on The Tease for updates.