OC barbershop owners reopen, saying they had to save the business

Although the state hasn't given businesses like theirs the green light to reopen, the Barberhood barbershop has been open for six days now.
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- The Barberhood barbershop in Laguna Hills has been booked with clients for six days now.

Even though the state hasn't given their industry the green light to reopen, owners Rick and Christine Wood said they had to, in order to save the shop - and their livelihood.

"The bottom line is, no matter what they say, we have to open, or this barbershop, the Barberhood, would no longer exist if I have to wait months to open again," said Rick Wood.

"We did apply for all the small-business assistance, but we were denied all of it, so at some point we had to take matters into our own hands and save our business," said Christine Wood.

They say they are within the guidelines Orange County released last week: maintaining physical distancing when possible, requiring everyone to wear a mask, and sanitizing between clients. Besides the business from customers, they're also getting support from local leaders and law enforcement.

"Sheriff's department, they've been very kind to us, very just positive and we're just checking on you guys, we got phone calls saying you guys were open, dispatch calls, we have to come out," Rick said.

Supervisor Don Wagner says this is one of many small businesses that understands we're not out of the woods, but knows we have a handle on this and can put things in place to maintain safety. He says the state and each individual city have their own guidelines to abide by, but the county will only enforce its own.

"The county, our sheriff, our health care agency, the county bureaucracy is not supposed to - if you're complying with the guidelines - shut you down, cite you, threaten your business licenses, anything like that," Wagner said.

We reached out to the California Department of Public Health for a response and to see if any actions will be taken against the business. The Office of Public Affairs responded with this statement:

"During yesterday's news conference, Governor Newsom spoke about the importance of reopening the state in a measured way and encouraged counties and businesses not to reopen too quickly, as some have proceeded to do. The state continues to implement the framework to gradually reopen some lower-risk businesses and public spaces. Those guidelines will be released this week."

"I would encourage them just to do the right thing and know that we are committed to working with them as we have been," said Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday, when referring to businesses not complying with state guidelines.

Despite only allowing a certain amount of clients in the shop at a time, the barbershop owners say they are overwhelmed with the response. They say they're doing more business now than ever.
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