LOS ANGELES - Two business owners are defying Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order and refuse to close their North Hollywood nail salon and have deemed it safer to continue operating indoors after investing in tens of thousands of dollars in medical-grade equipment.
Robert and Marina Torosian, the owners of Laque Nail Bar, said they have researched health and safety protocols and continue to operate their nail salon accordingly.
Gov. Newsom ordered nail salons and other businesses to reclose last week to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. On Monday, he clarified that nail and hair could continue operating outdoors.
"We have no choice but to defy the governor’s orders for the health and safety of our clients and staff," Robert Torosian said.
He also said they would not be able to offer the same safety procedures if they operated outdoors.
"The governor’s new order makes absolutely for no sense for any business to do services outside where we have zero control over the environment, no infection control, no health or safety protocols. It’s impossible and it goes against everything the governor has in written law," he added.
Like many businesses, Laque Nail Bar, which opened in 2013, has been hit hard by the pandemic.
"It has been hard on us and on the business because we lost a lot of our technicians due to the pandemic. A lot of them moved back home, a lot of them moved in with their parents, so we’ve just been struggling with that," Marina Torosian said.
"We were at home for 103 days, then they let us reopen. We implemented our safety protocols and then a week later, they had us shutting down again," she said.
The Torosians said they have cut down their capacity to 40%. They implemented new health and safety protocols, including upgrading their HVAC systems, placing barriers between technicians and clients. Customers are required to wear face masks and technicians are required to wear a face mask, face shield, and change gloves between each service.
The owners also invested in after-hours cleaning products. Robert became certified as a biohazard cleaning technician so he could clean his own salon. He invested in a medical-grade UVC light, which is used in hospital operating rooms.
The Torosians said they would likely be forced to close down the nail salon permanently if they are forced to close again.
A gym owner is Riverside has taken a similar stance.