VACAVILLE (KPIX 5) — A Solano County hair salon owner says she is re-opening her business in defiance of the stay-at-home order and striking a blow for small businesses shut down by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I mean, honestly, what else do I do?” said Lia Rivera as she arrived at work Tuesday for the first time in six weeks.

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She’s not reopening her Hairendipity Salon in Vacaville because it has suddenly been deemed “essential.”  Essentially, she’s doing it because she’s fed up with not working.

“We’re talking 15 grand a month that I’m guaranteed to lose,” Rivera said. “I mean, I think it’s worth taking the risk.”

Her first client Tuesday morning was Stacy Roudebush. Her hair extensions have been in for five weeks too long and she feared they could cause hair to start falling out.

“It could cause permanent damage to your hair and your scalp, so I do feel like at least letting us come in to do things like that is important,” Roudebush said.

Important maybe, but still illegal according to the county health order. Rivera said she is not a risk because she sanitizes regularly, wears a mask and gloves and intends to allow only two clients in the salon at any one time.

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“Open for business does not mean business as usual,” Rivera explained. :And even business as usual for us doesn’t mean, you know, a walk-in, franchise-type hair salon. This is an appointment-based business.”

Rivera acknowledged that she will be violating the six-foot social distancing requirement, but insisted there is more chance for contamination at the supermarket or gas station. But even as she does this, other salons on the same block are also shut down.

So what does Rivera say to other salons that are taking as big a financial hit, but are obeying the order?

“I’m doing this for you,” she said.

Rivera knows she will likely face at least a $1,000 fine, if not stronger action, but feels she is standing up for all the small businesses she claims are being ignored.

“Well, I sure the hell hope that this sparks some sort of change,” she said.

So what has the reaction from the public been so far?  Rivera said after announcing her plan to reopen less than 24 hours ago, between 10 p.m. Monday night and 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, she got more than 100 calls from throughout the Bay Area asking for her services.

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KPIX 5 contacted the Solano County Health Department to get their reaction to the salon’s defiance of the county health officer’s order. They responded to say they are not an enforcement agency, but would be discussing the salon’s reopening in the days to come.