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Hair Salons among several industries affected by expected closures

Posted at 7:43 AM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 10:44:47-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Hair salons are one of many businesses that are expected to close locally because Kern County has been on the state's monitoring list for at least three days.

Morgan Sokolow, the owner of the Sport Clips on Calloway Drive, already went through a months-long closure in the Spring. Now since it looks like she's at the beginning of another one, they'll likely have to make some tough decisions.

"We've tried to go above and beyond every possible measure that's been thrown at us to stay open so it's been a challenge," Sokolow said.

Sokolow's salon has looked and operated a little differently as of late. Plastic dividers now occupy the spaces in between chairs, temperature checks are regular, and all haircuts happen by appointment only. All of that done in the name of keeping people safe amid the pandemic. But now, it's looking like that won't be enough, as Kern Public Health described at a news conference Thursday.

"The governor's order we believe will apply locally in Kern County tomorrow morning," said Matt Constantine, the Director of Public Health.

As of Friday morning, county officials say it's likely that many industries will be ordered to shutter indoor services, including hair salons. That means Sport Clips will be empty for the time being. State guidelines do allow hair salons to operate outdoors, but some aren't thrilled with the idea of being outside.

"It's really really really hot. I've asked some of my clients about it and they're just like that's insane," said Shawna Culwell, manager and stylist at Sport Clips.

For some, the thought of working in Bakersfield's triple-digit heat is daunting enough. But the mechanics of creating a functional hair-salon outdoors would be tough too. It's unknown how long Governor Newsom's orders would be in effect, but Sokolow says if potential closures go on longer than a few weeks, they'll likely start thinking of ways to do business outside.

"You've got shampoo bowls, you've got, you know, electric equipment that needs to be plugged in or charged, you need mirrors. There's a lot of things that make it a lot more difficult as a hair salon to be able to do something like that," she said.

Businesses that want to operate outdoors will have to apply for a Special Event Permit from the city of Bakersfield. It costs $86 dollars and the city says it's happy to work with most businesses that apply and meet safety requirements outdoors.