Solana Beach hairstylist wants to re-open because her ‘salon is cleaner than grocery stores’

SOLANA BEACH (KUSI) – The salon industry continues to face challenges as it navigates through the ongoing re-opening and re-closures due to COVID-19 regulations.

Katie Pauli, a hairstylist at Suite B Salon in Solana Beach recently wrote an op-ed (below) explaining her frustration with the government orders to close.

Pauli explained why she and so many people in her same position want the government to revise their order and allow salons to re-open and resume working to make a living on Good Morning San Diego.

Katie Pauli’s full op-ed is below:

Many of my salon co-workers and friends waited weeks to receive any assistance from the government. Just as many were losing hope, we were able to reopen. In order to prepare for reopening with the new sanitation requirements and distancing measures, we spent thousands of dollars to set up our work spaces to create a safe environment.

Like many local salons, we made many changes to create a safe environment after being allowed to reopen. Now being shut down again with no way to realistically support ourselves, we are all on the brink of extreme financial hardship.

Before health officials said we could only conduct business outdoors, my salon asked all of its clients to wait in their cars until they were invited in. Then hands were sanitized, clients filled out a questionnaire regarding their recent health history, and we took their temperature. Not a single client was allowed inside without a mask.

We also rearranged our entire salon setup to honor the six feet of social distancing that’s required. No one was double booking, meaning only one client per stylist at a time. After the appointment was over, we allowed 15-30 minutes to sanitize our stations and tools. Our bathroom was sanitized regularly to ensure the safety of everyone in the salon.

Once a week, a company came in and used a disinfecting aerosol to get any areas we may have missed in our rigorous cleaning. Many of my peers were working at less than half their normal capacity in order to honor this new setup. We were working longer hours and more days to accommodate our guests because we had no other choice. Still, we were just grateful to be back to work, seeing our clients and able to start to feel less worried about the financial repercussions.

We spent 1,600 hours learning about sanitation and client safety in cosmetology school. In our salon, we all took an additional Barbicide COVID-19 certification to ensure that we were prepared to start working safely. Barbicide is what we use to clean all tools, shampoo bowls, chairs and surfaces our clients touch; it kills HIV-1 (the AIDS virus), hepatitis B and C viruses, herpes, ringworm, staph and numerous other pathogenic organisms.

The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology doesn’t care if every client leaves with a bad haircut or messed-up hair color. Sanitation and safety are its No. 1 priority. I guarantee that our salons are cleaner than any grocery store, hardware store or retail shop open. But we can’t use them.

The outdoor setup is completely impractical, not to mention it prohibits us from being able to receive financial aid. You are asking struggling people to now invest what little money we have left to create a comfortable safe place outdoors (buying things like umbrellas or pop-up tents) to protect ourselves and our clients from the elements.

Think of the risk to both stylists’ and clients’ health while outside in hot summer weather, in masks, with a client under a cape. That is dangerous! If you think we will be able to keep with the same cleanliness in an outdoor area as we do in the salon, you are mistaken. Not every salon has access or permission to use any outdoor space near their salon.

Allowing us to work outside also prevents any of us from applying for the unemployment we could receive to help out during this dire situation. The vast majority of us cannot continue on like this. If you will not allow us to work indoors at least provide financial assistance for us!

I can’t imagine being in health officials’ shoes and having to make these decisions, but imagine being in ours. Too many of my friends will lose their livelihoods and businesses they have worked so hard for. Please reconsider your decision to shut us down again.

I have contacted California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, to urge them to allow our industry access to the 45B FICA Tax Tip Credit on the next COVID-19 relief package.

We do hair because we love this industry. Please don’t allow our passion to die with our industry.

Pauli is a hairstylist at Suite B Salon in Solana Beach and lives in Carlsbad.

Kate started in the industry in 2006 after completing cosmetology school in Sacramento, at which point she knew she was ready to start her career in Southern California. She first found at home at Salon Radius where she assisted and honed her cutting, color, and styling skills. Kate continued her education with Bumble & Bumble and keeps up on current color trends through Schwarzkopf.

She strives to make every appointment an amazing experience for her clients by providing a thorough consultation and a relaxing environment.

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Categories: Coronavirus, Good Morning San Diego, In Studio Guests