The owner of a Laguna Hills barbershop said Wednesday she and her husband reopened the non-essential business because they were in danger of losing their fledgling shop.
“I called the chamber of commerce and Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Board of Supervisors and they said it is non-enforceable,” said Christine Wood, who owns The BarberHood in Laguna Hills with her husband, Rick, referring to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order prompted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“They said if I’m going to lose my business then I should open.”
Wood said she applied several times for aid from the Paycheck Protection Program but was denied because the store hasn’t been open for at least a year.
“We’ve only been open for seven months,” Wood said. “I applied four times and within two hours each time I was denied.”
Wood said she and her husband have been supportive of local causes such as Laguna Hills High School’s football team.
“We do all kinds of fundraisers,” she said. “They know we’ve been good members of this community and have given back tremendously.”
The Woods tried to think of every precaution possible to protect her employees and customers. Everyone in the shop is required to wear a medical mask, and if a customer does not have one they are given one for their appointment.
“We sanitize the entire shop between every single client,” said Wood, who reopened her business on Friday.
“The station chairs, the tools, the equipment — all being sanitized before the next client comes. And everyone has to wear a mask, not a bandana or a face scarf, but an actual mask.”
Customers wait outside under a tent before their appointment, Wood said.
“We tried to think of every precaution,” she said.
The barbers have their temperatures taken before their shifts, Wood said.
Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said, “We’re not providing recommendations to businesses. That’s an individual decision each business owner has to make.”
If the sheriff’s department is notified about a non-essential business opening, “We will take appropriate action,” Braun said. “We have discretion within the law on what that appropriate action is.”
Sheriff Don Barnes has consistently said he wants his deputies to seek voluntary compliance and that they have had much success doing so. The deputies may issue a citation, which carries a fine, if a business will not comply, Braun said.
Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said non-essential businesses should not be reopening.
“Our health officer said clearly (at Tuesday’s board meeting) that the non-essential business closure order of the governor is the law of the state and the county is compelled by both the executive order from the governor and the California Department of health as well as the regulatory agencies over the particular businesses,” Do said.
“We are compelled to follow those laws. Anybody who invites the public to disregard or ignore the state law is acting irresponsibly, and that irresponsibility is even more egregious when they themselves acknowledge the state law is the controlling law in the state and they acknowledge that counties do not have discretion to ignore state law.”
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