FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — Saturday was a normal business day for hair stylist and salon owner Travis Vu, although nothing about the three salon chairs set up under the shade of his roof is exactly normal for the 25-year veteran of the cosmetology industry.

“It’s been very tough," he said. "Like people have said, [it's] like a rollercoaster, it’s pretty crazy.”

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Newsom unveiled a four-tier, color-coded system to replace the state's monitoring list

  • The colors also reveal which businesses can reopen and to what extent

  • Much of Southern California is still in the highest tier, meaning most indoor operations at non-essential businesses are still restricted

  • However, hair salons and barbershops were permitted by the state to reopen in accordance with local health offcials

As the business owner explained over the weekend, Vu has been taken on the roller coaster ride of his life this year.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Southern California in mid-March, his salon was one of thousands forced to close its doors due to stay-at-home orders. As time stretched on, Vu says it became more and more stressful to stay motivated.

“When April came, all the bills came," Vu said. "I started freaking out.”

There were no more cuts, no more colors, no more work for stylists like Vu whose businesses were deemed non-essential by the state. Although salons were allowed to reopen with restrictions for a brief time in May, a spike in COVID-19 cases in July brought another round of closures.

"It was just so sad and depressing," Vu said.

Over the last six weeks, he has been able to keep business alive by pivoting to an outdoor model, but he was anxious for news that he could reopen indoors once again. That day came Friday, when Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new four-tier, color-coded system to replace the state's monitoring list.

Under the system, most non-essential indoor businesses must remain closed, but hair salons and barbershops were among the few given the green light — as long as local health officials permitted them.

“I was so happy, I go, 'Yay! Jackpot,'" Vu said with a smile. "I thought, 'Oh my god, finally.'"

While L.A. County will continue to uphold restrictions, Orange County health officials announced that sector can reopen Monday if following state guidelines.

Vu said it was the sigh of relief he had been waiting for. “Hopefully we stay open for good this time," he said.