OC salon owner raises red flag about potential safety problems with reopening businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

Orange County is allowing some businesses to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some owners say that plan won't work.
IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- New steps are being taken in Orange County to allow some salons to open as long as they operate outside. But some frustrated business owners are raising red flags, saying that just won't work for them.

"When looking to work outside, that was something immediately that didn't work out for us because we do work in a busy center," said Nic Lange, owner of House of Lange in Irvine.

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"Since the governor and the state of California has allowed nail salons to operate outdoors, I've personally called 24 nail salon owners and only one is operating outdoors."

Lange's salon sits in the middle of the Irvine Spectrum. He says about half the people walking through the outdoor mall don't wear masks. That's something several Orange County residents reminded the O.C. Board of Supervisors of at their meeting this week.

"This is a threat to marginalized communities, black and brown and indigenous people are dying. They don't have the healthcare to take care of their expenses," said one resident.

The Board unanimously voted to allow businesses in unincorporated parts of Orange County to operate outdoors in accordance with county, state and federal laws. But Lange says it's a challenge to keep up with the changing requirements from all the different agencies overseeing hair salons.

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"You have anywhere from Cal OSHA to the government to state boards and then there's always amendments that they do, so you have to keep an eye out to make sure that you're following those protocols," said Lange.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs is not allowing some services to be done outdoor, including hair coloring and shampooing. That leaves Lange and his team with the option of dry haircuts. He says it just isn't safe outside for his clients and stylists because the environment can't be controlled.

Lange said that since March, his business has taken a hit of at least $100,000, and he may be looking at filing for bankruptcy.

For the latest updates and resources on the coronavirus, visit abc7.com/coronavirus.

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