Nail salon owners worried COVID-19 pandemic could force them to close businesses permanently

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Donyell Hatter of Mr. Manicure and Company is making the necessary changes to his salon, hoping he may soon be able to reopen his doors.

"Manicuring is a passion that I decided to go into outside of my trade, which is journeyman carpenter," he said. "I was helping build the HSR."

Hatter put his life savings into the business he calls his passion and opened his shop in February.

Weeks later, he was forced to temporarily close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"With my life savings gone, my children in peril and everything else," Hatter said.

State officials have yet to give a timeline on when nail salons may reopen.

Despite not having guidance yet, Heavenly Nails and Spa owner, Thanh Nguyen, has already put new measures in place.

Shields are now at work stations and only every other station will be used.

He says it's easier to enforce social distancing and safety measures in a smaller area, like a salon, rather than a supermarket.

"We want to run a business and at the same time, protect people," Nguyen said.

But salon owners worry despite the safety measures, customers won't come after Governor Newsom recently said the outbreak in California started at a nail salon.

We reached out to his office to get further clarification, but have not received a response.

"This industry has never, ever been ready like they are now because of the statement he made," said Lisa Bowles, owner of New Nail Creations Salon. "They're willing to do whatever they have to do to go back to work."

Ngyuen worries he and many others, may not be able to reopen if they wait much longer.

"Look in our shoes at what we have done to minimize the spread," he said. "We understand the requirements. We have done that."

Hatter says he's just hoping the state will allow the nails salon industry and the families living by it to survive.

"I don't know when he's going to open, and I'm ready to work," Hatter said.
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