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Pleasanton hair salon protests to reopen

Stylist argues against outdoor haircuts, calls regulations 'absurd'

Maven & Co. Salon in Pleasanton recently added station dividers, as well as sanitation stations, with an eye toward eventually reopening for indoor service. (Courtesy image)

Despite completing thousands of hours of training including best sanitation practices and using the latest and greatest tools for disinfection, stylist Jennifer Hatcher, who normally rents a chair at Maven & Co. on Valley Avenue in Pleasanton, told the Weekly that the state has refused to let them reopen for outdoor service, much less inside.

"The problem is with the state (cosmetology) board, they're the ones threatening fines of up to $10,000 and suspending licenses for three years" if salons flaunt any regulations, Hatcher said.

Hatcher was among a small group of hair stylists and salon owners who protested to reopen their businesses at the Alameda County Public Health Department in Oakland last week. She said she hasn't cut a single strand of hair since the countywide shelter-in-place order amid the COVID-19 crisis started on March 16, which forced the salon to temporarily shutter.

Currently, Hatcher cannot even give any dry haircuts, which she estimates "makes up less than 15% of our clientele" at the full service salon, but has still disqualified her and other stylists from receiving unemployment.

"I just want it to be very clear from a hairstylist's perspective -- we're not throwing a tantrum. We feel we can do it safely," she added. "It feels like a need, it really does, and the disparity in that opinion is part of the problem. Hair stylists in general, our industry is not looked upon with the most prestige … but we're professionals and very clean and safe. We feel strongly we can provide for our guests."

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Pleasanton has already seen popular hair styling businesses like Gary Patrick Salon draw to a close after more than 30 years in business because of the pandemic, according to a stylist who posted the news on social media this week. Opening first in Pleasanton in 1989, the salon eventually expanded to San Francisco before closing both locations and opening its current spot on Main Street in 2003, a downtown staple until the shelter order hit earlier this year.

When Maven & Co. does reopen, Hatcher wants to be able to offer clients a range of services including highlights and extensions in a proper setting instead of outdoors, as was briefly allowed in neighboring Contra Costa County until the end of June.

Maven & Co. Salon in Pleasanton has invested in sanitation equipment and enacted new health protocol with an eye toward eventually reopening for indoor service. (Courtesy image)

"A $55 haircut doesn't require getting sprayed down in a parking lot, it's not an appropriate offer," Hatcher said. "It chips away at the integrity of our professionalism and the quality of our services to where it's not feasible to offer them to our guests. It's not a fair act to ask that of them and then charge them what we need to charge them."

The state's proposed solutions for outdoor salons are also impractical, Hatcher argued, noting that conditions like the sun and wind make stylists' jobs harder. She also said the safety regulations issued "were, broadly- wear sunscreen, don’t trip on electric cords, and watch out for lightning storms. It was insulting and absurd."

"How is being outside in an uncontrolled environment more sanitary than our space," Hatcher said.

The salon has added station dividers and sanitation stations, removed its lounge area, and invested in air purifiers, blue lights and sanitizing wands -- all in the name of client health and safety. "That, to us, seems so much more sanitary than on a sidewalk in a lawn chair," she added.

Maven & Co. Salon in Pleasanton has added sanitation stations for clients recently with an eye toward eventually reopening for indoor service. (Courtesy image)

Hatcher also said the logistics of "dragging our salon chairs down an elevator every day in 100 degree heat is just nonsense; it's just silly."

An underground market for illicit haircuts has also sprung up due to the extended closures, potentially exposing both stylists and their clients to the virus, according to Hatcher, who has received multiple requests for at-home services.

"I could probably count 10 stylists off the top of my head who I know are doing house calls," she said.

Following the July 22 protest in Oakland, Hatcher said the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has scheduled a hearing on Aug. 3. The hearing's purpose is to receive input from stylists and salon owners about reopening, but Hatcher said local businesses need a strong advocate to help make that happen.

To that end, Hatcher and the other stylists at Maven & Co. have been trying unsuccessfully to connect with Supervisor Nate Miley and see whether he will go to bat for them. Miley and his staff did not respond for a request for comment at the time of publication.

"There's a science behind what we do and how we do it," Hatcher said. "I don't think that information has been communicated clearly or has been understood (by officials). My hope is at the state board meeting, others within the county are listening so they understand."

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Pleasanton hair salon protests to reopen

Stylist argues against outdoor haircuts, calls regulations 'absurd'

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 5:07 pm

Despite completing thousands of hours of training including best sanitation practices and using the latest and greatest tools for disinfection, stylist Jennifer Hatcher, who normally rents a chair at Maven & Co. on Valley Avenue in Pleasanton, told the Weekly that the state has refused to let them reopen for outdoor service, much less inside.

"The problem is with the state (cosmetology) board, they're the ones threatening fines of up to $10,000 and suspending licenses for three years" if salons flaunt any regulations, Hatcher said.

Hatcher was among a small group of hair stylists and salon owners who protested to reopen their businesses at the Alameda County Public Health Department in Oakland last week. She said she hasn't cut a single strand of hair since the countywide shelter-in-place order amid the COVID-19 crisis started on March 16, which forced the salon to temporarily shutter.

Currently, Hatcher cannot even give any dry haircuts, which she estimates "makes up less than 15% of our clientele" at the full service salon, but has still disqualified her and other stylists from receiving unemployment.

"I just want it to be very clear from a hairstylist's perspective -- we're not throwing a tantrum. We feel we can do it safely," she added. "It feels like a need, it really does, and the disparity in that opinion is part of the problem. Hair stylists in general, our industry is not looked upon with the most prestige … but we're professionals and very clean and safe. We feel strongly we can provide for our guests."

Pleasanton has already seen popular hair styling businesses like Gary Patrick Salon draw to a close after more than 30 years in business because of the pandemic, according to a stylist who posted the news on social media this week. Opening first in Pleasanton in 1989, the salon eventually expanded to San Francisco before closing both locations and opening its current spot on Main Street in 2003, a downtown staple until the shelter order hit earlier this year.

When Maven & Co. does reopen, Hatcher wants to be able to offer clients a range of services including highlights and extensions in a proper setting instead of outdoors, as was briefly allowed in neighboring Contra Costa County until the end of June.

"A $55 haircut doesn't require getting sprayed down in a parking lot, it's not an appropriate offer," Hatcher said. "It chips away at the integrity of our professionalism and the quality of our services to where it's not feasible to offer them to our guests. It's not a fair act to ask that of them and then charge them what we need to charge them."

The state's proposed solutions for outdoor salons are also impractical, Hatcher argued, noting that conditions like the sun and wind make stylists' jobs harder. She also said the safety regulations issued "were, broadly- wear sunscreen, don’t trip on electric cords, and watch out for lightning storms. It was insulting and absurd."

"How is being outside in an uncontrolled environment more sanitary than our space," Hatcher said.

The salon has added station dividers and sanitation stations, removed its lounge area, and invested in air purifiers, blue lights and sanitizing wands -- all in the name of client health and safety. "That, to us, seems so much more sanitary than on a sidewalk in a lawn chair," she added.

Hatcher also said the logistics of "dragging our salon chairs down an elevator every day in 100 degree heat is just nonsense; it's just silly."

An underground market for illicit haircuts has also sprung up due to the extended closures, potentially exposing both stylists and their clients to the virus, according to Hatcher, who has received multiple requests for at-home services.

"I could probably count 10 stylists off the top of my head who I know are doing house calls," she said.

Following the July 22 protest in Oakland, Hatcher said the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has scheduled a hearing on Aug. 3. The hearing's purpose is to receive input from stylists and salon owners about reopening, but Hatcher said local businesses need a strong advocate to help make that happen.

To that end, Hatcher and the other stylists at Maven & Co. have been trying unsuccessfully to connect with Supervisor Nate Miley and see whether he will go to bat for them. Miley and his staff did not respond for a request for comment at the time of publication.

"There's a science behind what we do and how we do it," Hatcher said. "I don't think that information has been communicated clearly or has been understood (by officials). My hope is at the state board meeting, others within the county are listening so they understand."

Comments

Willy
Old Towne
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:37 am
Willy, Old Towne
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:37 am
30 people like this

It's time to allow Barbers, Hair Salons and Nail Shops to open! These people are hurting!


Henry Bechtel
Mission Park
on Jul 31, 2020 at 12:17 pm
Henry Bechtel, Mission Park
on Jul 31, 2020 at 12:17 pm
24 people like this

Absolutely ridiculous to keep hair saloons & barber shops closed. They can address sanitation to minimize danger, at least as well as grocery stores do now.


Leza Shaw
Pleasanton Village
on Jul 31, 2020 at 1:43 pm
Leza Shaw , Pleasanton Village
on Jul 31, 2020 at 1:43 pm
16 people like this

As an ex hairdresser myself this rule for hairdressers & barbers not to open is crippling these families & businesses. Many other countries have still had them open with limited numbers & extra safety measures. It’s worked for them so why not here! Covid is killing people in more ways than one! Causing money worries, stress, leading to heart attacks, stomach ulcers & more. Let them open up. As she says..there’s people doing it behind closed doors anyway..which is less safe!


Barbara Costello
Highland Oaks
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:39 pm
Barbara Costello, Highland Oaks
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:39 pm
18 people like this

This is just petty stuff from the County. I guarantee you people are driving to other counties to get haircuts and treatments. You are just depriving Alameda County workers from working. The state and county government has done such a poor job responding to this pandemic. Closing all the beaches and parks when the medical experts advise that we are safer outside. Allowing some businesses to stay open but making others close. If we can shop for groceries wearing masks, we can get haircuts wearing masks. The problem is, the County workers get a full paycheck no matter how long this shutdown lasts and they want to show us how powerful they are. They aren't elected officials, so they feel very safe.


James Michael
Val Vista
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:47 pm
James Michael, Val Vista
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:47 pm
24 people like this

Everything needs to re-open, schools included, and before the November elections. We all know what this is all about...deny Trump a second term. Europe doesn't seem to have a problem but then they aren't in an election cycle.


Pleasanton Parent
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:06 pm
Pleasanton Parent , Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:06 pm
15 people like this

Good for them, government needs to listen to the people.

Not fighting for handouts, fighting for the right to earn a living......never thought I’d see the day


Susan Ulatoski
Highland Oaks
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:11 pm
Susan Ulatoski , Highland Oaks
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:11 pm
11 people like this

This is a letter I wrote to Alameda County of Public Health Department.

Dear ACPHD,
I am a hairstylist in Alameda County. I have been off work since March 17 2020. On behalf of myself and 5000+ stylists and owners. I implore you to allow us to open our doors. Haircuts and color etc. outside is not sanitary. If there is the least bit of wind outside there would be flying hair everywhere, especially if located near a restaurant. I’m not sure the patrons would appreciate hair in their fettuccine!!!
Seriously, we have taken every measure to provide a sanitized, safe environment for our guests and fellow stylists. In fact 75% of our board testing and licensing is in sanitation and client protection. We are also overseen by the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. We are ESSENTIAL. JUST AS MUCH AS BOTOX AND FILLER FROM MED SPAS THAT ARE OPENED! Open up our Salons/ Barbershops PLEASE.

Thank you for listening, I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

Sincerely,
Susan Ulatoski


Ron R.
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 31, 2020 at 5:41 pm
Ron R., Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 31, 2020 at 5:41 pm
15 people like this

If dentists, who literally do all their work inside one's mouth, can be open, certainly, hair salons should be open. Alameda County Public Health, LET HAIR SALONS OPEN UP!


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