SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Thousands of California hair salon and barbershop owners opened their doors on Monday to protest the state’s health order, but one man in San Jose said he never shut down and he’ll continue to stay open.
“I vowed to my staff on day one that we would remain open until they came and took me away in cuffs,” said Salon Blu owner James Griffiths. “We’ve been open all along.”
In the four months that Griffiths has continued to take clients and snuck them through the back door, he said.
Griffiths has never gotten in trouble despite calls from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office and visits from police.
“They said we want to warn you that we’ve gotten complaints, and I said, ‘Well, thank you very much,'” said Griffiths. “They didn’t ask to come inside and they really didn’t seem interested in enforcing it.”
On Monday, Griffiths joined what he estimated as thousands of other salon and barbershop owners across the state, who reopened their doors and began taking clients once again. Some planned to stay open as long as they could while Griffiths said he plans to stay open no matter what.
Griffiths operates in Santa Clara County, which has been closed since mid-March except for a brief 48 hours when business owners were allowed to reopen in June.
“Frankly, people in my industry are getting organized and we’re willing to fight them in court,” he said.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Professional Beauty Federation of California told KPIX that they’re prepared to support the beauty industry and defend them in court.
For months, they’ve argued that they are safer — than most businesses that have been allowed to remain open — because of their training in sanitation. Many clients agree, including Griffith’s client Candie Price.
“I feel like it’s very clean, they’re doing all the things that they’re supposed to be doing,” said Price. “People want their hair done. It’s up to the individual if they want to come or not.”
Two weeks ago, Santa Clara County Supervisors passed a civil citation ordinance, which makes enforcement easier. Violators of the health order could face hundreds of dollars in fines, and business owners be cited fines in the thousands.
But Griffiths said he’ll continue to work and prove there’s no reason he should be shut down.
“We are being singled out,” said Griffiths. “I would encourage other salon owners to get your doors open, and take care of these people and hang on to your clients.”