SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The owners of barbershops and hair and nail salons are expressing frustration and growing impatience with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, criticizing the lack of a clear timeline allowing them to reopen.
“I feel it’s time that Santa Clara County give us a date. And I didn’t think there was a voice out there representing our industry,” said Erica Martin, the master stylist at W’s Salon in Santana Row.
Martin gave voice to her frustration on social media in a post that’s sharply critical of the health department and has gone viral.
“I feel like my career is slipping away. I’ve spent more than 10 years in this industry building a clientele that took me a long time. And right now, they want to get in and get their hair done and they’re not going to wait any longer,” explained Martin.
Santa Clara County was widely praised for being one of the first in the nation to implement stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus. But that cautious, wait-and-see approach has increasingly draw criticism from businesses eager to reopen.
“We just feel it’s not fair. Our livelihoods are being taken away. So a lot of us feel like the rug is being pulled from underneath our feet and we feel helpless,” said Dave Diggs, the owner of Barbers Inc. in San Jose.
Diggs says his barbers are licensed by the state and trained in good hygiene. He says he doesn’t understand why they’re not being given the green light to reopen.
The health department issued a statement which reads in part, “As we have seen in numerous states that have opened up quickly with wide ranging results, it is best to slowly and judiciously open up our county.”
Nonetheless, many salon owners, stylists and barbers say they believe they could reopen with less risk of infection that other industries that are already back in business.
“Santa Clara hasn’t been clear about the date we’re allowed to reopen. What we knew three and a half months ago was that we were shutting down to help flatten the curve. And now it seems like we’re shutting down trying to cure COVID-19,” said Carlos Letelier, owner of Limon Salon.
Santa Clara County health officials last eased restrictions with a round of reopenings on June 6th. Three weeks from that date — this coming Friday — was when officials said they would next re-evaluate the next phase of reopening businesses.