- September 9, 2021
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SAN DIEGO — Frustration, anger and fear. It’s a mix of emotions for small business owners who were forced to close their doors by the stay-at-home order and now, more bad news, that order has been extended.
“I just don’t understand how we’re supposed to be able to live,” said Heather Northcote, owner of Goldline Salon in South Park. “How I’m supposed to live and keep my business open. It’s not possible right now.”
Northcote has been forced to shut her hair salon three times. Today, she received more bad news that the stay-at-home order for Southern California has been extended again with no end in sight.
“We, essentially, are projecting that the ICU capacity is not improving in Southern California and San Juaquin Valley and demand will continue to exceed capacity,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary.
Dr. Ghaly said the current available ICU capacity for the Southern California region is zero percent. The stay-at-home order will remain in effect until availability gets to at least 15% and with a post-holiday surge still expected, businesses are bracing for the bad news to continue.
“It’s probably one of the most stressful times in my life,” said Guy Hamel, a stylist at Goldline. He says the bills are piling up and he’s trying to apply for grants, but it’s not going well. “Applying for them is really, really confusing. You know, I’m a hairstylist. I don’t know [the] paperwork.”
Also confusing to those suddenly unemployed are the rules that allow some people to continue working in the very same jobs that others aren’t allowed to do.
“Film and television has been made essential,” Northcote said. “So hairdressers can work on movie sets. I can do your hair for an interview and I can do a client’s hair if you were filming it, but if you’re not filming me working, I can’t work.”
Today’s news also means restaurants can only serve take-out, amusement parks must remain closed, and church services have to move outdoors. “I don’t think we’re part of the problem,” says Hamel. He understands hospitals are overwhelmed and doesn’t want to make a bad situation worse, but he hasn’t seen any evidence that hair salons are the problem. “We can’t reopen, but you can go to Anna’s Linens or TJ Maxx or those other big stores where they’ve had breakouts.”
The current stay at home order has no time limit attached to it. It’s simply tied to ICU availability and that makes it even more frustrating because there’s no immediate end in sight.
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