California Beauty Professionals Sue Gov. Gavin Newsom

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Ryma Chikhoune
·3 min read
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The Professional Beauty Federation of California, a nonprofit created in 1999 and representing more than 620,000 licensed beauty professionals and 53,000 barbers in the state, is suing Gov. Gavin Newsom, the association said today.

The organization has teamed with a group of California-based restaurants that unified to file a lawsuit days before Christmas, explained Fred Jones, the group’s lobbyist and legal counsel. Just like restaurants, which are restricted to takeout only, beauty and barber establishments with COVID-19 safety measures in place are looking to reopen immediately and permanently, as well as receive financial relief. Businesses are accumulating debt, and many are closing their doors for good.

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“Some Los Angeles-area restaurants retained [lead counsel and L.A.-based attorney] Mark Geragos…to file suit,” Jones told WWD. “Then in speaking with Mark, because I’ve known him for a long time, he decided, ‘Hey, some of the arguments that salons have are even stronger and given the fact that salons and restaurants are taking the brunt of this, why don’t we combine forces.’ So yesterday, he amended his existing lawsuit that was filed right before Christmas to include our industry, hair, skin and nails.”

The organization’s campaign to reopen salons has been supported by companies that include Paul Mitchell, Salon Republic, Phenix Salon Suites and Dermalogica, revealed Jones.

It was in a press conference on Dec. 28 that Newsom extended the latest statewide lockdown due to the surge in coronavirus cases and deaths, keeping salons closed — a measure that has been met with skepticism. (As of Jan. 22, California has more than three million confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 35,768 deaths, according to state findings.)

“If you’re a hairstylist in L.A., you can’t work in your own salon, but if you have a contract with a Hollywood film studio, you’re allowed to do the exact same hair services, because Hollywood has been deemed by Gov. Newsom as essential,” said Jones, who also noted that big box retailers like Walmart and Costco are kept open and independent businesses suffer most.

“We already have a judge picked and already have a court assigned, so we’re way out in front of a lot of these other lawsuits that have been filed in the last few days,” he continued. “We got a favorable judge. And by favorable, I mean really open-minded, a lover of the law and of the Constitution. All we believe we need is a fair-minded judge to look at the law and the facts, and we believe we will prevail.”

The nonprofit has been providing resources for its licensed professionals through its website, said Jones.

“We’re doing that through our online portal to help them apply for PPP federal forgivable loans,” he said. “I’m proud to say we’ve had over 10,000 licensed professionals already go through that portal. It’s tens of millions of dollars that they’re applying for. We’re hoping within the next couple of weeks to exceed $100 million of 100 percent forgivable loans put in the pockets of our industry professionals.…We’re hoping to immediately get our salons and spas reopened and permanently reopened so that this governor — and frankly if we go all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which we have marshaled the resources to do — no governor will ever be able to lock down our salons and restaurants without showing the data and science to justify their orders.”

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