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San Mateo 'Salon Alley' Business Owners Face Bleak Future With New County Shutdown

SAN MATEO (KPIX) -- San Mateo County became the last Bay Area county to face new restrictions after being on the state's coronaVirus watch list. Starting Sunday, the new restrictions ban malls, gyms, churches, tattoo parlors, spas, hair and nail salons.

West 25th Avenue, between Flores and Hacienda Streets in San Mateo, is known as "salon alley" because of the 11 hair and nail salons on one block. Everyone there was forced to close.

"We had to cancel our clients and let the rest of the team know. Unfortunately, the team members really do depend on us to open because they left their unemployment to come back to work for us," said Linda Pham, owner of Soleil Luna Nail Spa in San Mateo.

Pham said they invested thousands of dollars in plastic partitions, safety equipment and a temperature-checking device so they could reopen back in mid June and July.

"We are extremely devastated. However, we are very hopeful that soon we will be able to move outside," Pham said.

"I don't really have time to be frustrated. It's more like we're not closed yet, how do we respond? How's the next day going to happen?" said Kevin Lu, who is working on a new plan to move Soleil Luna Nail Spa's operations outdoors. They are waiting for the city's approval before moving their equipment onto the street.

"We're trying to figure out how do we not only survive this but how do we thrive in this situation?" said Lu.

County officials said businesses can reopen as long as they shift their work outside.

On the first day of the new health restrictions, the compliance rate appeared high. KPIX called about 15 churches and visited a dozen spas and salons and found just one massage spa that was open for half a day. A worker there said they planned close starting on Monday to comply with the new restrictions.

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