GLENDALE, Calif. – The Professional Beauty Federation of California filed a lawsuit in federal court on May 12th against California Governor Gavin Newsom, demanding he reopen salons.
The shutdown of businesses to slow the spread of coronavirus has been particularly devastating for the salon industry. One local business feeling its impact is Social Salon Suites on West Colorado Street in Glendale.
Rosey Ibarra, 44, is the owner.
“It was great we had music playing, it felt like luxury boutique hotel. People were walking, saying hello to each other being friendly,” said Ibarra, recalling how business was prior to the shutdown.
Ibarra became a licensed cosmetologist in 1998, a licensed realtor in 2001. In 2014, she had finally had saved up enough money to give life to the dream of marrying the two together into Salon Suites.
“My husband and I we both built this with our blood sweat and tears, we built it with our own money. We did this from the fruits of our labor,” Ibarra said.
The shutdown has been devastating, both for Ibarra's clients, who can’t service the public and for Ibarra herself, who relies on their rent.
“So this isn’t me owning a salon that has employees or running a chair. This is me as a landlord giving space and opportunity to business owners. There is 19 of them, 19! Nineteen business owners that have their own families. I mean think about the network that is being affected, just in one location,” Ibarra said, holding back tears.
About half a million Californians work in the beauty industry; many are independent contractors, including Ibarra's tenants. She doesn’t know if she’ll be able to survive either. Her landlord is asking for June’s rent -- $12,000. At least two of her clients have already signaled that they might be leaving or closing for good.
“I’m seeing some of them not seeing a future because they can’t imagine the amount of work and effort and debt that they’re going to be consuming,” Ibarra said.
Cosmetologist go through about 1,600 hours of training, some of it in sanitation. Ibarra says these licensed professionals are trained in matter of cleanliness.
“It’s very unfortunate that some of them they feel like they’re going to have to do house calls and risk their licensing and their whole profession just to service their clientele and put food on the table," she said. “We are ready to do anything that the state asks us to do as far as sanitation and protocols, but give us our directives, give us our orders, let us know how you want us to service the public."