Hair Stylists Turn to Odd Jobs to Survive While Out of Work

Under the San Diego County Public Health order non-essential businesses including hair and nail salons are closed. The order is set to expire on April 30th, but it may be extended

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San Diego County non-essential businesses have shut down under the Public Health order and it has put thousands of people out of a job. Many tell NBC 7 they are desperate to make an income during this pandemic and are turning to odd jobs to survive.

“Day one after we got shut down I was online just looking for different places I could apply, I don't want to not work,” said Clairemont hairstylist Courtney Voth.

All 15 Sola Salons based in San Diego County closed around mid to late March. The stylists who run their own private studios inside are coming up with ways to make a living.

“I applied to be an Amazon driver, I applied at Trader Joe's, Costco all those things,” said Voth who turned to Door Dash.

“It’s tough for the restaurants, it’s tough for me,” Voth said about working for the food delivery app.

She said as a dasher she risks exposure to the coronavirus doing deliveries, she’s struggling with payments as she barely gets a tip or sometimes she doesn’t have a restroom to go to as restaurants are only offering takeout and have their facilities closed to the public.

“It’s been really stressful,” said El Cajon hairdresser LaVonne Kraus.

Kraus paints, so she’s turned to selling her artwork online and is also selling hair products to her clients.

“I mix the color and drop it off at their door and run to my car and tell them it’s there and they apply it themselves,” Kraus explained.

NBC 7's Melissa Adan spoke with some salon owners to see how they adjust to social distancing protocols.

Voth and Kraus work at separate Sola Salons in San Diego County.

“It’s already hard enough, you’re struggling financially, you’re struggling mentally physically, emotionally, and when you don't feel like you look good it makes it 1,000 times worse,” said Voth.

Voth said she still hasn’t received her stimulus check and is sympathetic to other stylists.

“I’m barely staying afloat myself and people who have elderly parents, maybe they’re caring for spouses, partners, or children that also aren't working. It’s just so much to think about and it's frustrating,” Voth said.

While their business has stopped they're hoping small-scaled salons can reopen soon under strict measures.

“I’ve always said we're ‘hairpists’ and they help us and we help them a lot,” said Kraus.

Both Voth and Kraus said their saving grace is how Sola Salons is not collecting rent from any of its stylists.

“I’ve already purchased disposable capes, we'll be wearing gloves at all times,” said Kraus as she looks forward to reopening.

While the county health order is in effect until April 30th, it may be extended. So stylists are waiting for county leaders to decide when they'll be able to reopen.

“Who knows if the business that we come back to is even going to be sustainable,” Voth said.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Nathan Fletcher says the County is developing a phasing plan for when and how businesses will reopen.

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