Joyful day becomes more heartbreak for salon and hair salon owners

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On Monday morning, Santa Clara County beauty salons and hair salons reopened for the first time since March 16.

Just a few hours later, salon and store owners learned that they only had one more day before interior salon services had to close again.

“It was exciting, exciting, we were able to open, then explode, just devastating,” said Laure Chicoine, owner of the Nirvana Aveda Concept Salon in Los Gatos.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s order to shut down indoor business operations at midnight Wednesday in 30 affected counties is the latest setback on a long journey for Santa Clara County beauty salons and hair salons.

The county was one of the first to close its beauty salons, and as of Sunday, it was one of the state’s three counties, along with San Francisco and Alameda, which still kept them closed.

To stay afloat, Chicoine fired his employees and obtained a Disaster Economic Injury Loan from the Small Business Administration. In late June, she organized a protest to demand a reopening of the county.

On July 2, she received one: Santa Clara County announced that it would allow more businesses to reopen, including beauty salons.

Two days later, California denied the county’s reopening request. Three days after that, the state changed its mind and approved the variance to reopen.

“We thought it was a joke or something,” Chicoine said Thursday. “But we confirm it through [District 1 Supervisor] Mike Wasserman, and now here we are, ready to reopen. “

Chicoine cleaned his living room and restocked his supplies. She called clients and rescheduled appointments that had been postponed for months.

Fifteen minutes northeast, Dave Diggs was preparing his barbershop, The Barbers’ Inc, to reopen. It had also been a difficult few months for him. Unemployment benefits went a long way to cover your personal expenses. But as a business owner, it was different: Even though he was not bringing customers, he still had to pay his store rent, water, electricity, and WiFi. Like Chicoine, he got a financial injury disaster loan to help cover the cost.

“” I lose “about $ 13K a month when we’re not open,” Diggs said. “Sometimes four months … I couldn’t stay in business without the help of the state.”

It would be “devastating for business” if they had to close again, Diggs said hours before Newsom’s overwhelming announcement.

About a dozen customers cut their hair at Diggs’ barber shop in downtown San Jose on Monday, as music played between two rows of black leather chairs and delighted employees and customers to be back at the store.

“It is a literal weight,” said client Esteban Galvin, who has had his hair cut by Diggs since 2010.

Diggs had reserved clients until the end of the week. So did Chicoine, in Los Gatos, where familiar scents of hair dye and incense hung in the air, floating around new door temperature control stations and wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers.

In the midst of tweaking a longtime customer’s roots, Chicoine found out about Newsom’s request. But at the time it was unclear if it could apply to Santa Clara County.

“We have invested hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in barriers and face shields and aprons and sanitation supplies,” Chicoine said. “If you’re going to open, give us a chance to stay open for a while.”

Nancy Crutchfield, one of Chicoine’s clients, said: “These are companies. You can’t turn it on and off like this. “

Hours later, county officials issued a response to Newsom’s order: Interior room services were to close at midnight Wednesday.

“I am completely devastated and disappointed,” said Chicoine.

Neither Chicoine nor Diggs yet know how they will survive this new round of closings:

“There are so many things in the air,” said Diggs.

Diggs said he doesn’t know if he will be able to get more money from the government to cover expenses without the ability to generate income. Chicoine does not know if she can keep her salon afloat in Los Gatos.

For now, they are trying to make the most of their 48 hour window. Chicoine and another stylist added more customers on Monday night, and he has a 10-hour day reserved for Tuesday.

“I don’t want to just sit at home and collect unemployment,” Chicoine said. “I want to be behind the chair, in the living room, visiting my clients.”