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Salon Owners Seek Permission To Operate Outdoors To Salvage Struggling Businesses

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Hair salons and barbershops are asking Governor Gavin Newsom to ease state restrictions that would allow them to style and cut people's hair outside.

It's one of several ideas the hair industry is pushing to keep salons in business.

"I'm barely surviving," said JoAnna Brignolo, a hairstylist in Fremont. "I have days when I'm happy that we're not working because I enjoy the time off, but other days when I'm anxiety-ridden because I'm not making any money."

That's pretty much industry standard right now says Atelier Studio and Salon owner Karie Bennett.

"I think it's the ultimate shakeup," Bennett said.

Bennett says salons already operate with an educated, safety-trained and certified workforce, one that could reliably adapt to the new COVID world.

"We really need to show the governor that we could do it," said Bennett. "They just didn't give us the opportunity to show it," she said.

Santa Clara County salons were allowed to re-open this week but for only two days.

Stylists and clients wore masks and shop owners set up partitions to separate work areas.

Some salons even experimented with working outside.

A new bill now in Sacramento would ease state restrictions on cutting hair outside to allow salons to partially operate during the pandemic.

"We could do some things inside like wash the hair, but set up a waiting room outside. We can socially distance, like an indoor, outdoor."

If nothing happens, stylists say it could force the industry to go underground or mobile where there would be no regulation.

"Give us an opportunity to utilize the protocols that they gave us and do things right," Bennett said.

Brignolo said she once dreamed of owning her own salon, now like many, she'd be happy to just be happy to go back to work safely.

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