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San Diego salon owners gear up to reopen

At some salons, there will be no indoor waiting area, and services will be offered by appointment only.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — With encouraging results in the fight against the coronavirus, San Diego County supervisors have voted to ask the state to allow California’s second-largest county to be a test case for whether more rapid reopening can safely occur. 

That vote can pave the way for the possibility that salons could reopen soon, and many are already undergoing some needed changes.

Inside the Gallery West Hair Salon in Bankers Hill, you won't find any customers or stylists, because there is still a lot of work being done to meet safety standards for a possible reopening. 

"It's gonna be protecting both sides. It's gonna be clear, clean, unique and nice," said salon owner, Raul Salas. 

Salas had Plexiglas dividers installed. In the lobby, he has hand sanitizer, and face masks, all of which will now be required to reopen.

"We're gonna set up a sanitizing station so it’s gonna be mandatory. Every single person that walks through that door will wear a mask," said Salas.

Stylists will also be equipped with gloves and face shields. There will be no indoor waiting area, and services will be offered by appointment only.

"We're anxious and we wanna start working you know," said Salas, who is doing everything he can now hoping he and other San Diego salon owners get permission to reopen soon.

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom adjusted the metrics, allowing more counties to move further into Stage 2.

While salons and barbershops fall under Stage 3, San Diego officials have asked the governor to allow them to reopen at 25% capacity as early as this Friday.

"I wanna be optimistic," said Salas. 

At Nailstalgic, a vegan nail salon in Grantville, the owner said she is not comfortable as she'd like to be to reopen. 

Skai Thong is eager to open, but may start slow, only seeing a few clients a day.

"I just want to make sure I protect my patrons, my staff, and everyone," she said.

Skai still has to install table shields, move chairs, and make sure her staff has the proper protective equipment.

She said there's been little guidance on how to do all those things. On top of that, she hasn't made money for months, so getting the needed supplies will take time.

"I would love for the government to help us with the PPE and hand sanitizers and the things necessary to keep the public safe," she said. 

Because of capacity regulations, at salons where there are several stylists, they can't all work at the same time.

They’ll have to come in shifts, so that's another change to plan for.

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