Employees of SB Nail Bar were hard at work giving manicures and pedicures outside their location on Tuesday morning, having already responded to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that some personal care facilities can reopen.
This came just on the heels of the governor’s announcement last week that indoor operations at restaurants, bars, barbershops, and nail salons had to cease amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Under the new guidelines, facilities giving personal care services like haircuts, nail services, and massages can provide their services outside so long as they conform to local regulations and zoning rules.
SB Nail Bar moved its care services outdoors under 10-by-10 canopies last week when the governor gave his reclosing orders, according to manager Quan Nguyen, but was informed by the city of Santa Barbara that performing outdoor care services required a permit from the State of California’s Board of Barbering & Cosmetology.
On Monday, the city informed Mr. Nguyen that he could reopen the nail bar again for outdoor services so long as he followed the required guidelines. The manager remarked that although SB Nail Bar’s first attempt at moving its services outside was shut down, the business still “planned ahead” for moving outside again.
Open well before other beauty service establishments on State Street, SB Nail Bar has wasted no time in getting business back up and running. Mr. Nguyen said the governor’s new announcement made him and his employees feel “relieved.”
“It’s not like before, but it’s better than nothing,” he said.
As she was getting a manicure, a Santa Barbara woman who just chose to give her first name, Sonia, called SB Nail Bar’s outdoor setup “amazing.” She remarked that hair and nail salons being able to move some of their services outdoors is not only a great boom for the aesthetic and beauty industry, but a change that greatly enhances the outdoor vibe of the State Street promenade.
Sonia added that she is yet another name to add to the list of local residents who hope the temporary promenade setup on State Street turns permanent. Since social distancing is currently the norm, she feels the feeling of connectedness it brings is especially needed now.
“It makes it so much more pleasurable… You get to see people, you don’t feel so distanced,” she said.
Palm Springs resident Rebecca Alcorn was also at SB Nail Bar on Tuesday morning and as she received a pedicure was also taking notes for how to move her salon Visions Organic Hair Studio outdoors. Ms. Alcorn came up to Santa Barbara yesterday to relax for a day after her hair salon was forced to close for a second time. She and her friend went to State Street after hearing it was the best place in town to go shopping, and they happened upon SB Nail Bar. Seeing the nail salon’s outdoor setup was a revelation for her.
“As soon as we saw this nail salon we thought, ‘Oh my god, here it is, they’ve got the right idea,’” she said.
Ms. Alcorn said she will be back in Palm Springs tomorrow to open her outdoor salon.
Though hair salons that meet the necessary local criteria for moving outdoors are now free to do so, The Barbershop at 1233 State St. won’t be open for a couple of days. In an interview with the News-Press, owner Jorge Salgado said that he is awaiting approval from the county of Santa Barbara to move barber chairs onto the sidewalk outside his shop. Mr. Salgado did this without authorization last week when Gov. Newsom announced that hair salons had to cease indoor operations. However, that didn’t last long.
As the News-Press reported, 24 hours after he and his employees started giving haircuts outdoors, Mr. Salgado was greeted by a member of the Santa Barbara City Attorney’s Office who told him he had to get a permit from the Board of Cosmetology to move his shop’s services outside.
Though the new guidelines permit qualifying businesses to reopen now, Mr. Salgado is taking a few days to play it safe by confirming permission with the county to ensure he can cut hair outdoors with no further complications.
Putting a couple of barber chairs on the sidewalk outside his shop will only sustain Mr. Salgado’s business and the owner said the arrangement “is not going to pay the bills.” He expects that setting up chairs outside and putting them back inside at the end of the day will both respectively take an hour, losing him time that could be spent with clients. Though he likes the idea of cutting hair outside, it’s a bit more labor intensive than he originally thought it would be.
“It’s going to be a little more work than all of us anticipated,” he said.
In the outdoor barber chairs, Mr. Salgado and his employees will only be providing haircuts, no color or chemical services. The latter are conducted by the Victorian Salon that operates at the back of the barbershop space.
Mr. Salgado lamented that COVID-19 pandemic will likely mark the end of The Barbershop and Victorian Salon sharing the same space. The salon’s head aesthetician might be leaving soon for somewhere she can actually conduct business amid the pandemic.
“I might have just lost her because she needs to work and she’s thinking about going a different route with business,” Mr. Salgado said.
Though having to conduct business outdoors has no shortage of challenges, Mr. Salgado is grateful that it’s even an option, and for that he thanks Santa Barbara.
“Not all the counties have this great weather, so I feel for the people in L.A., and inland. It’s going to be too hot for them to work outside,” he said.