Amid California's Phase 2 of reopening, some excluded businesses still face financial hurdles

While Gov. Gavin Newsom's Phase 3 may come sooner than later, some business owners are still in search of solutions amid coronavirus pandemic.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- While Gov. Gavin Newsom's Phase 3 may come sooner than later, some business owners are still in search of solutions amid coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses allowed to reopen under the state's Phase 2 guidelines have not completely opened their doors, and there are still small businesses desperate to rejoin the economy, including those under Phase 3.

"I'm kind of scared of losing the business," said Sheri Howell. She's one of two stylists at Style Lounge in Pasadena.

Despite their small size, they likely won't reopen for weeks because the size of a business is not a factor in the phased reopening of the economy, it's the type of business: hair and nail salons, gyms and movie theaters.

They all remain closed and owners in that arena are asking for some concessions.

"I would just appreciate if we could open, one client at a time, one stylist at a time," Howell said.

In Sherman Oaks, 9Round is classified as a gym. Despite restricting the number of clients to five, and by appointment only, they will remain a Phase 3 business for now.

"I think we should be allowed to open back up in June and help the community slowly get back to normal," said owner Monika Geisz.

"Within the levels of gyms, there are so many levels of variations," said 9Round trainer Robyn Richardson. "Hair salons, too. Some of the small facilities that can control their numbers and spread their clients out, I think should be classified differently and be able to open sooner."

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger agrees that many small businesses will have safety plans in place that ultimately go beyond what is required to reopen, but she notes that the county is restricted by state guidelines.

"To accomplish what the state's going to say needs to be done will work for rural counties or smaller counties, but in LA County that would put us out into months," Barger said.

If exceptions to Phase 3 businesses come, the governor hasn't given a clear directive yet.

"We're open to argument and interested in evidence, and there's a lot of really interesting nuance within these large counties," Newsom said at a previous coronavirus briefing. "And that obviously needs to be taken into account."

Nuance might work in politics, but small businesses are dealing with more black and white issues.

"I don't want to have to pay rent to a salon that I am not in," Howell said. "And I don't want to lose my clientele."
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