SAN JOSE (KPIX) — A San Jose hair salon owner is among the growing number of stylists who believe salons and barber shops should be part of the phase two reopening of California.

Karie Bennett, who owns several Atelier salons in San Jose, said stylists must undergo weeks of training on disinfection, sterilization and sanitation as a requirement by the state of California to earn a cosmetology license.

“Next to a hospital, salons are going to be one of the cleanest places you can go,” Bennett said.

Although the doors are closed at her salons, Bennett hasn’t stopped working. She’s getting her businesses ready to reopen with extra safety precautions when the governor finally gives the green light.

“I’m having dividers made now, partitions between our shampoo bowls,” she said. “I don’t think I could go too overboard on making our salons safe and clean and sanitary.”

She said chairs will be placed six feet apart, magazines will no longer be offered and stylists will wear masks and face shields. Her salons, she said, have hospital grade HEPA filtration systems. Bennett is also having her stylists undergo training to earn what she calls a “Barbicide COVID-19 certification.”

“Barbicide is one of the disinfection liquids that we use and it’s a virucide, it kills bacteria and, actually, I was looking at the list and it’s always killed the human coronavirus,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Professional Beauty Federation of California announced it plans to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom in an attempt to reopen as soon as possible. The industry group represents a half million stylists and barbers. Bennett said, while it’s extreme to sue the governor, she does believe it’s one way to get his attention.

Phase two of reopening the state includes daycare centers, bookstores and toy stores. Bennett believes hair salons should be included in phase two, not just because of the training required by the state, but also because of the extra measures that many will be taking.

“I don’t know that these other kind of businesses can really come up to that standard of disinfection that a salon would be able to,” said Bennett. “Knowing what we’re doing and the social distancing, I feel like we should be in phase two.”

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