The beauty industry is striking back after comments California Governor Gavin Newsom made during his daily Statewide press conference, stating the community spread of COVID-19 began in a nail salon.
"This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon," Newsom said Thursday during a COVID-19 briefing in Sacramento. "I just want to remind everybody of that and that I’m very worried about that." He offered no further details, citing privacy and health concerns.
In California, 80 percent of all nail salon owners and nail technicians are Vietnamese-Americans, making the governor's remarks a racial discrimination issue as well.
"I'm demanding the Governor apologize for his comments that disproportionately affect Vietnamese-American community," said former Senator Janet Nguyen in a news release. "With his reckless comments the Governor has put a target on the back of Vietnamese-Americans. The Governor's comments will cause fear and panic-devastating businesses that have already been severely impacted by State Shelter-in-Place orders."
"For many Vietnamese-Americans owning and working in nail salons is not just a job or a business it is a trade that has been passed on from generation to generation. This is the soul of who they are and the Governor is degrading that," said Nguyen. "It is hard enough to recover from the shutdown, it will now be harder given the Governor's comment blaming nail salons as the spread of COVID-19. He basically just shut down the nail salon industry in the state."
The Professional Beauty Federation of California has since announced that it is planning to sue the governor.
PBFC President Ted D. Nelson said, "While our industry stood in solidarity with Governor Newsom’s original order to ‘flatten the contagion curve’ of the COVID-19 virus to not overwhelm our healthcare providers, we believe our state has met that noble goal. A shutdown of our salons and beauty schools cannot extend additional ‘months not weeks’, as the Governor announced on April 28, without devastating consequences to the livelihood and businesses of tens of thousands of California citizens. Nor do we believe an extended lockdown of our salons is necessary to continue to combat the Coronavirus.
Our licensed professionals are educated and trained to deal with cross-contamination and disinfection protocols in their licensed establishments. Our clientele is our family, and we would do nothing to risk their health and safety. With the proper safety protocols in place, let’s allow our licensed professionals to get back to doing what they do best in a safe, well-regulated environment.”