‘Open Us or Fund Us': Salon Owners Demand More Support to Sustain Shutdown

Frustrated owners and employees marched through Little Italy chanting "Save our salons."

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Even though schools in San Diego County may be allowed to reopen soon following San Diego's expected removal from the state watch list, a lot of businesses owners say they're still in limbo waiting on guidance for their respective industries.

They understand the coronavirus health concerns, but say if you're not going to let us open up, then fund us.

"My overhead is huge! My rent is just under $16,000 a month," said Rebecca Hyde-Edwards owner of Hyde Edwards Salon and Spa in Little Italy.

The coronavirus closures have made it hard for Hyde-Edwards to pay full rent on her salon.

It's part of the reason she helped organize a march Monday from Little Italy to the County Administration building. Frustrated employees and salon owners carried signs calling for a second round of funding to save their salons, since some are operating at limited capacity or remain closed because they can't work outside.

Everyday Hyde-Edwards' doors remain closed, 58 people who worked at her salon suffer.

“This comes down to people’s livelihoods. This is how people pay their rent. This is how they pay for their children. This is schooling. This is medical bills," said Hyde-Edwards.

A spokesperson for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer issued a statement that reads in part:

“Through the Small Business Relief Fund and an additional $700,000 directed for businesses in underserved communities, Mayor Faulconer acted swiftly to make resources available for these businesses. To date, more than 1,000 businesses have received aid. Mayor Faulconer continues to advocate for state and federal funding to continue the local relief efforts. “

Inside Salon Ink in Mission Hills, protest signs sit where customers normally would.

Co-owner Henry Monreal has been keeping a close eye on whether San Diego gets off the state’s watch list. He also wonders falling off the list only opens the doors for schools to open and not salons, especially considering beauticians spend thousands of hours in school learning about hygiene.

“God bless schools and that they're going to be able to move forward, but how about us?” questioned Monreal. “You know, how about the small business owners that can't continue to survive? You know, the way we're going right now, we need some guidance. "

Local leaders are pressing the state for that guidance. Meanwhile, county officials are fighting off public complacency so the region can avoid more shutdowns once it's off the watch list.

"I think we have to be mindful that as we come off the list, it can’t be a sense of, 'We're off the list and everything is fine,'” explained County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “It has to be, 'We did a good job of keeping our case count down, now let’s keep it down.'"

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