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'Our Industry Is Being Ignored': Salons, Barbershops Reopen Indoors Despite State Coronavirus Health Orders

GARDENA (CBSLA) — Some salon and barbershop owners have decided to defy the state's orders against operating indoors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lu Garcia Reynoso was back to doing what she loves Monday — cutting hair inside her shop Barber Society in Gardena.

She defied the state's coronavirus health order by welcoming customers inside as well as risking losing her cosmetology license, business license and even being charged with a misdemeanor.

"It feels amazing, it feels amazing to be back serving my community," Garcia Reynoso said. "Our industry is being ignored so today, we're faced, now five months in, of do we risk everything and defy this order, which we know there's a lot we can lose, or do we lose everything by just waiting around and not getting acknowledged at all."

For Garcia Reynoso, cutting outside was not an option.

"The only place for my shop was near the dumpsters towards the back of my parking lot. Because we don't have running water, we can't provide color or chemical services which are about 80% of our business. To the elements, we are in the middle of a heatwave."

Garcia Reynoso doesn't understand why her industry is being criminalized. She says they're in a controlled environment where they practice their services as safely as possible, since they are licensed and regulated by the state, and their training is focused on disinfection and client protection.

"It forced a lot of people to go underground," Garcia Reynoso said.

Garcia Reynoso wasn't the only one opening for indoor services Monday to protest statewide restrictions.

Several other hairstylists across the Southland stood in solidarity, some even taking legal action.

"The industry had sued the governor prior to this when we got reinstated for three weeks because we felt it was unfair and so now, we're now left without many options. We also have waited patiently for five months with no acknowledgment or even a promise of maybe an opening date in the future," she said.

In the meantime, Garcia Reynoso says she's happy to welcome back clients like Humberto Alvarado.

"I waited and when I got notification Lu's place was open again, I made an effort to come," said Alvarado. "I feel safe right now."

"I've been doing this for 10 years. It's my passion, I love it. We just want a fair chance to save ourselves, to save our businesses," Garcia Reynoso said.

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