Santa Clara County confirmed today that it has no knowledge of any coronavirus outbreaks traced back to salons.
The news comes in response to a query from San Jose Inside as part of a story about how people who work in personal care services are grappling with the aftermath of public health officials singling out their industry as some kind of unique risk in the pandemic.
In that piece, published Wednesday, we highlight a lawsuit filed against Gov. Gavin Newsom by the Professional Beauty Federation of California (PBFC), which claims that the industry’s rigorous sterilization standards make it far safer than other businesses that have been allowed to stay open during previous shutdowns.
And yet, early on in the pandemic, Newsom falsely claimed that California’s first known case of community spread of Covid-19 traced back to a nail salon. Fred Jones, the attorney representing PBFC, told San Jose Inside that the industry—comprised predominantly by self-employed women, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community—has been reeling ever since.
Catrina Cavalero, the owner of San Jose’s Beauty Bar 27 profiled for the story earlier this week, called the county’s admission unsurprising.
“We wish they would have acknowledged this sooner,” she said in a phone call this afternoon. “It’s a little bit of vindication, but it’s not enough.”
Jones said it’s insulting that information has been trickling out on a case-by-case basis instead of addressed comprehensively—and directly to the people affected by the issue.
“As more data gets leaked to the public ... we learn that salons have not been the source of the Covid spread,” he said. “It infuriates licensed professionals to learn this through back channels rather than directly from the one guy responsible for locking our businesses down, claiming only to be following the ‘data and science.’”