News

Mountain View businesses reeling as gyms, hair salons are suddenly forced to again shut down

Businesses providing personal care services, including the downtown Face-N-Body, will remain shut down under new public health orders. Courtesy Sheri Lee.

Monday marked a big day for Natalie Nepomuceno, a hairstylist and owner of a salon in Mountain View. After being forced to shut down for four months during the coronavirus pandemic, she was finally allowed to reopen on July 13 and begin seeing customers desperate for a haircut.

It took a lot of prep time, too. The small Orbit & Rust salon on Villa Street had to get cleared out, sanitized and set up to meet rigid safety protocols. Each client's temperature was checked, and there was a mandatory clean-up period of 15 to 30 minutes in between each client.

But it didn't last long. In a surprise announcement Monday afternoon, Santa Clara County health officials said hair salons, nail salons, gyms and fitness centers -- all allowed to reopen on Monday, July 13 -- would now have to close as of Wednesday, July 15 at 12:01 a.m. The swift and unexpected rule change meant Nepomuceno, like many other business owners, had to shut down after only 48 hours.

"It's heart-wrenching," she said. "At first we had to wait until the end of May, then June and then July. Then they say you can open, but now you can't, then you can, and now you can't again. It's just a roller coaster."

The surprise reversal has left the local business community reeling, adding to what had already been a baffling reopening plan this month. The source of the problem has largely been conflicts between the county's reopening plans and ever-shifting rules by the state of California.

'It's this U-turn within less than 24 hours that's so difficult.'

-Peter Katz, Mountain View Chamber of Commerce president

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When Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Sara Cody announced that hair salons and gyms could reopen, it was initially denied by state officials. Within days, the two agencies had resolved the problem, and Santa Clara County was clear to move forward.

But at a noon press conference Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that new restrictions would be put in place to stop the surging number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reported throughout the state of California, including a significant increase in both Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties. Counties on the state's "monitoring list" are subject to more restrictions, including a ban on indoor hair salons and fitness centers.

Adding to the confusion over the rule changes, Santa Clara County had been taken off the state's monitoring list, but was added back on Sunday, July 12, something that wasn't well-publicized until late afternoon on Monday, July 13.

In a statement Monday, county health officials called Newsom's restrictions "bold statewide action" in direct response to a troubling rise in COVID-19 cases -- even if it does directly contradict the county's reopening plans that took effect on the same day.

"The fight against COVID-19 is unfortunately far from over," Cody said in the statement. "But our residents and businesses have shown how we can collectively make an extraordinary difference in saving lives and safeguarding our community."

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The on-again off-again public health orders have been difficult for business owners, who have spent time and money preparing to open, said Peter Katz, president of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. He said it was confusing enough trying to understand the kerfuffle between the county and the state last week, but now businesses are being forced to shut down after just getting back on their feet.

"It's this U-turn within less than 24 hours that's so difficult," Katz said. "You have businesses, they are trying to gear up and trying to prepare, and all of the sudden it's not happening?"

Many gyms, including the YMCA fitness centers in Mountain View and Palo Alto, didn't even have time to open up, while gyms, including the City Sports on Grant Road, never formally announced reopening plans. The national chain 24 Hour Fitness opened up locations in Santa Clara County on Monday, complying with strict public health requirements, including a complete ban on indoor cardio equipment and a mandatory reservation policy.

Nepomuceno, speaking during a break between clients Tuesday, said it's been tough to cope with the news. She has salons in both Mountain View and Campbell, the latter of which has 15 hair stylists working there as independent businesses, and she feels responsible for them. She said stylists like herself have a personal relationship with their clients and would never want to jeopardize their health and safety, and that all the precautions were carefully put in place to make reopening work.

"It makes me so sad, now that I'm saying it out loud. It feels really emotional," she said. "We put a lot of time and effort into making sure that everyone is safe."

Other personal care businesses got the bad news early. Sherin Lee, owner of the downtown Face-N-Body beauty salon, said much of the services she provides are expressly prohibited in the county's reopening plans. Nail and hair salons got the green light, but it turns out that things like eyelash extensions and facials -- pretty much anything near the face -- were banned even in the Monday reopening plans.

"What's annoying is they told everybody that personal services can open up, so even our clients thought we were opening," Lee said. "Once you dig into the 10-page document, it says that it's prohibited. It gave our clients false hope."

Lee says her business has been ready to open for a while, and that she purchased cleaners, disinfectant and 5,000 masks in preparation, but she worries that they won't have permission to open for a long time. Meanwhile the bills are racking up, and she and other nearby business owners are struggling to pay the full cost of rent while being shut down. Unemployment checks from the state are going straight into paying rent for commercial space she can't even use.

"For me, as a business owner, the (unemployment) money is not enough for rent in Mountain View," Lee said. "Mountain View landlords are not doing enough for tenants."

With so much uncertainty hanging over the reopening plans, Lee said she doesn't know how long she can last on federal loan money. Deferred rent and loans only really delay the economic realities of the crisis.

Nepomuceno is facing a similar challenge. She said her landlords are nice people and she isn't seeking a complete break on rental payments, but the costs of the lease are stacking up.

"The expectation is to pay it all back later, but I don't know if I'll survive," she said.

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Mountain View businesses reeling as gyms, hair salons are suddenly forced to again shut down

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 12:16 pm

Monday marked a big day for Natalie Nepomuceno, a hairstylist and owner of a salon in Mountain View. After being forced to shut down for four months during the coronavirus pandemic, she was finally allowed to reopen on July 13 and begin seeing customers desperate for a haircut.

It took a lot of prep time, too. The small Orbit & Rust salon on Villa Street had to get cleared out, sanitized and set up to meet rigid safety protocols. Each client's temperature was checked, and there was a mandatory clean-up period of 15 to 30 minutes in between each client.

But it didn't last long. In a surprise announcement Monday afternoon, Santa Clara County health officials said hair salons, nail salons, gyms and fitness centers -- all allowed to reopen on Monday, July 13 -- would now have to close as of Wednesday, July 15 at 12:01 a.m. The swift and unexpected rule change meant Nepomuceno, like many other business owners, had to shut down after only 48 hours.

"It's heart-wrenching," she said. "At first we had to wait until the end of May, then June and then July. Then they say you can open, but now you can't, then you can, and now you can't again. It's just a roller coaster."

The surprise reversal has left the local business community reeling, adding to what had already been a baffling reopening plan this month. The source of the problem has largely been conflicts between the county's reopening plans and ever-shifting rules by the state of California.

When Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Sara Cody announced that hair salons and gyms could reopen, it was initially denied by state officials. Within days, the two agencies had resolved the problem, and Santa Clara County was clear to move forward.

But at a noon press conference Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that new restrictions would be put in place to stop the surging number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reported throughout the state of California, including a significant increase in both Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties. Counties on the state's "monitoring list" are subject to more restrictions, including a ban on indoor hair salons and fitness centers.

Adding to the confusion over the rule changes, Santa Clara County had been taken off the state's monitoring list, but was added back on Sunday, July 12, something that wasn't well-publicized until late afternoon on Monday, July 13.

In a statement Monday, county health officials called Newsom's restrictions "bold statewide action" in direct response to a troubling rise in COVID-19 cases -- even if it does directly contradict the county's reopening plans that took effect on the same day.

"The fight against COVID-19 is unfortunately far from over," Cody said in the statement. "But our residents and businesses have shown how we can collectively make an extraordinary difference in saving lives and safeguarding our community."

The on-again off-again public health orders have been difficult for business owners, who have spent time and money preparing to open, said Peter Katz, president of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. He said it was confusing enough trying to understand the kerfuffle between the county and the state last week, but now businesses are being forced to shut down after just getting back on their feet.

"It's this U-turn within less than 24 hours that's so difficult," Katz said. "You have businesses, they are trying to gear up and trying to prepare, and all of the sudden it's not happening?"

Many gyms, including the YMCA fitness centers in Mountain View and Palo Alto, didn't even have time to open up, while gyms, including the City Sports on Grant Road, never formally announced reopening plans. The national chain 24 Hour Fitness opened up locations in Santa Clara County on Monday, complying with strict public health requirements, including a complete ban on indoor cardio equipment and a mandatory reservation policy.

Nepomuceno, speaking during a break between clients Tuesday, said it's been tough to cope with the news. She has salons in both Mountain View and Campbell, the latter of which has 15 hair stylists working there as independent businesses, and she feels responsible for them. She said stylists like herself have a personal relationship with their clients and would never want to jeopardize their health and safety, and that all the precautions were carefully put in place to make reopening work.

"It makes me so sad, now that I'm saying it out loud. It feels really emotional," she said. "We put a lot of time and effort into making sure that everyone is safe."

Other personal care businesses got the bad news early. Sherin Lee, owner of the downtown Face-N-Body beauty salon, said much of the services she provides are expressly prohibited in the county's reopening plans. Nail and hair salons got the green light, but it turns out that things like eyelash extensions and facials -- pretty much anything near the face -- were banned even in the Monday reopening plans.

"What's annoying is they told everybody that personal services can open up, so even our clients thought we were opening," Lee said. "Once you dig into the 10-page document, it says that it's prohibited. It gave our clients false hope."

Lee says her business has been ready to open for a while, and that she purchased cleaners, disinfectant and 5,000 masks in preparation, but she worries that they won't have permission to open for a long time. Meanwhile the bills are racking up, and she and other nearby business owners are struggling to pay the full cost of rent while being shut down. Unemployment checks from the state are going straight into paying rent for commercial space she can't even use.

"For me, as a business owner, the (unemployment) money is not enough for rent in Mountain View," Lee said. "Mountain View landlords are not doing enough for tenants."

With so much uncertainty hanging over the reopening plans, Lee said she doesn't know how long she can last on federal loan money. Deferred rent and loans only really delay the economic realities of the crisis.

Nepomuceno is facing a similar challenge. She said her landlords are nice people and she isn't seeking a complete break on rental payments, but the costs of the lease are stacking up.

"The expectation is to pay it all back later, but I don't know if I'll survive," she said.

Comments

At the Right Time
Cuernavaca
on Jul 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm
At the Right Time, Cuernavaca
on Jul 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm
8 people like this

Health comes first. The very sharp rise in positive cases and hospitalizations required a pause, as that rate of infection is not sustainable (with exponential growth). Widely growing infection rates aren't good for business, either. The County really should've been able to assess this on its own, without the State stepping in.

A positive is that businesses have all now been provided the framework regulations established by the County, so they can be fully prepared and ready when the shutdown ends...it won't be a case of being told they can open, but not knowing the rules.

It seems that now that businesses have the framework, they can more easily adapt to "on" or "off" County orders as the Covid cases fluctuate.

The business rules seem fairly sound. It's up to us as a community to work hard to prevent spread in our everyday lives.


MyOpinion
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:01 pm
MyOpinion, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:01 pm
31 people like this

Let's get creative. Getting a haircut outdoors is very low risk, the stylist and customer both masked, not facing one another, in the open air for a half hour haircut. That is far safer than being inside a grocery store, Target or Costco with dozens of customers and employees.


Dan Waylonis
Jackson Park
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:28 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:28 pm
10 people like this

This is surprising especially in light of data a study of two hair stylists in MO who interacted with 139 clients while they both (unknowingly) were infected. No one else got infected. Source: Web Link


Please wear masks so less suffer
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
Please wear masks so less suffer , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
11 people like this

Please wear masks so less people and businesses suffer. If we did our part as a community, this wouldn’t be happening.


Robyn
another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:48 pm
Robyn, another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 3:48 pm
14 people like this

It is shameful that the local and state governments cannot act cohesively for the benefit of the people. This is a travesty for the small businesses.


Gerard Shonk
Cuesta Park
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm
Gerard Shonk, Cuesta Park
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm
22 people like this

It is unfortunate that Santa Clara County (SCC) is treated as one single entity for these type of things. Mountain View only represents 2% (141 of 6725) of the positive cases in SCC. The first positive case was 148 days ago, so we’ve averaged less than 1 positive case a day during this pandemic (yes I know more people have had the virus that haven’t been tested, but that’s true everywhere). I think that data speaks to the fact that this community has by and large been responsible during this pandemic, and it’s a shame that we have to suffer because many parts of SCC aren’t doing as well.


The Business Man
Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2020 at 5:40 pm
The Business Man, Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2020 at 5:40 pm
6 people like this

Gerard:

Any loss of life or disability occurring at this time is not tolerated.

What you are saying if so what if anyone dies or are disabled, I WANT MY WAY.

EVERY single persons rights to LIFE simply overrides the financial interests of anyone. You are just like Ford when they designed the Pinto to burn up from rear end impacts. The Ford company chose to not modify the manufacture of the Pinto which increased the unit cost by $11.00 and instead thought it cost less to deal with lawsuits. These companies simply say, if anyone dies so be it. The Government cannot act that way.

Your playing games with peoples health. WE cannot play your game.


psr
The Crossings
on Jul 14, 2020 at 6:10 pm
psr, The Crossings
on Jul 14, 2020 at 6:10 pm
9 people like this

The actions of the State ignores the pain being caused by this shutdown for thousands of people who have not been allowed to work in months. It is also ignoring the fact that, despite a rise in the number of cases, the rate that we are seeing deaths doesn't appear to be following.

The state and Gavin Newsom have acted without reason for much of this crisis. The governor was the one that thought it was reasonable to insist that sick people be placed back in eldercare facilities, despite the fact that we knew this disease was easily spread and very dangerous to elderly people. The deaths in those facilites have been the single largest group of people affect by this disease. Also, for some reason, the state has grouped gyms and bars together in their orders, despite the fact that they are VERY different operations. There is no comparison between a bar, where you sit indoors and elbow to elbow with others for several hours while consuming product that impairs judgement, and a gym, where most people spend less than an hour, are seldom very close to each other and already wipe down equipment between uses. These are just a couple of examples of the poor reasoning and bad judgement shown by the California government.

Barbers and hair salons can do much of their work outside (like my grandfather did when he was barbering about 100 years ago), they already sterilize equipment between clients and their are few places where the operators can be SEEN washing their hands constantly. To send mixed signals as has happened in the last few days smacks of a lack of organization and knee-jerk reactions to a rise in cases. It also punishes local businesses for the actions of others, which is totally unfair.

Rather than making sweeping rollbacks, we should be taking the information from the contact tracers that will tell us what activities are risky and where they are. Punishing a gym in Mountain View for the actions of a bar in Los Angeles shows a lack of ability to gather and analyze data properly. It also is patently unfair to people who need to make a living.


Greg David
Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:24 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:24 pm
12 people like this

I was just thinking, if the Voice wants to attract readers and advertisers, they would be well advised to simply ban the “Business Man” and all his nonsense and rants. I rarely visit this site any more because I’m tired of being accosted for money from a business that should be supported by its advertising revenues and [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


The Business Man
Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:41 pm
The Business Man, Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:41 pm
8 people like this

Everybody wants to make Either Gavin Newsom or me a SCAPEGOAT.

NO one wants to accept reality.

You all have your opinions, you have the right to express them.

But many of you are acting like Costco Ken, you want to take out your anger against the easiest targets you can find and not the REAL problem. The fact that COVID is beating us.

I used to play a game called Plague Inc, and the objective was to kill all people on earth. I don't play it anymore because reality changed my perspective. I just learned that there is good evidence that you can get COVID 19 again after recovery.

With all the PROMISES of a medication or a vaccine, not one exists yet. This is the same problem that got Theranos is so much trouble. They made promises they couldn't keep.

The "FAKE" it until you "MAKE" it idea is nothing but a disaster when it comes to medical issues. These people are going to wind up creating too much false hopes. WHY?

Because once reality hits and the people know there is no light at the end of the tunnel instead it is the light of an oncoming train on the same track, all you know what will happen.

Which is scaring our social stratification structure leadership like nothing else.

So they attack and attack those they find a good target.


Izzy
another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 11:17 pm
Izzy, another community
on Jul 14, 2020 at 11:17 pm
7 people like this

Maybe like restaurants the hair salons can too utilize thier services outside. Now that they are considering closing down Castro street; maybe this can be considered with the blessing of the city counsel?? Just a thought.


The Business Man
Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2020 at 4:23 am
The Business Man, Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2020 at 4:23 am
2 people like this

By the way

Santa Clara County is back on the Governors COVID Watchlist as of yesterday


The Business Man
Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2020 at 9:55 am
The Business Man, Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2020 at 9:55 am
6 people like this

This is getting to be a REAL nightmare

If the reports are true that you can be reinfected with COVID 19.

There are reports coming that indicate that even with the previous antibodies, some patients are getting sick again. Here is one of them (Web Link)

and this one

(Web Link)

So it can be that this virus is the ultimate weapon against humanity. It will continue to disable and kill people until a REAL vaccine or a REAL medicine is discovered.

Or is the world going to allow itself to go into possible extinction simply because of a simple piece of metal or paper representing commerce?

IDK


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Jul 15, 2020 at 12:47 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Jul 15, 2020 at 12:47 pm
6 people like this

Re-infection. Previously unknown harm even to non-symptomatic recipients. Viral load is one key to the spread. As children are herded together in large groups indoors, the virus is bound to spread. Masks and distancing would help - but that won't be enough. You might have read that the county board of education in Orange County, CA has just recommended that schools just reopen with few precautions. The board members are Trump supporters. The school boards for the two dozen districts in Orange County are not going along - so far. I suggested in a letter just now to the largest newspaper there, the Orange County Register, that instead of experimenting on all of the public school children at once, Orange County could accept volunteers (parents and their children) to hang out together at Disneyland day after day - including in confined areas - and see what happens to the children and their parents. Simulated school. I suspect the newspaper will send my email-letter to the trash and some school districts in that county will reopen as recommended by Trump supporters unless sooner halted by the State of California. Schools need to operate using small groups and distance learning - not COVID-19 parties with 2000 high schoolers or hundreds of younger students.


The Business Man
Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2020 at 1:28 pm
The Business Man, Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2020 at 1:28 pm
Like this comment

This situation is getting worse by the day:

Let’s address the Moderna vaccine story. It was a test on 45 healthy people and they suffered a variety of symptoms after receiving the vaccine. Yes there is an “antibody” response but the report shows they never were exposed to COVID. Thus they are not PROVEN to be immune to COVID. The report is in many ways misleading by the methodology and the results.

Next, the CDC is now being bypassed regarding the COVID data and treatment by the White House. This means that a political office, the Health and Human Services will distribute information it sees fit. This is VERY concerning because the evidence of the current surge in infections shows no signs of reduction.

Next, the marketing of PHRMA to claim it is making progress on COVID where there is NO EVIDENCE of this actually happening is scary. There is NO medication that actually is designed to address COVID, people are just trying out and using medicines that are only thought to be effective, but no proof of effectivity has been produced.

Finally, the idea that Business and the Government is acting on wishful or best case information and not addressing the worst case means we are all at risk. There has been no scientific proof that we have an effective vaccine or medication that actually DOES treat COVID. WHY?

Because the “RULING CLASS” of the country is terrified with the idea that if the people realize how dangerous and out of control the COVID is the increased risk of loss of their CONTROL over the people will be. Imagine if all the people realize that these systems are all failing them? The people will revolt in such a number that the Business and Governments will collapse.

This is why you have so many people trying to attack anyone demonstrating that the situation is NOT improving, it is in fact getting WORSE.


Julia
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2020 at 3:03 pm
Julia, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2020 at 3:03 pm
3 people like this

Agree re comment re Missouri Great Clips where Covid not transmitted to clients with all wearing face coverings and as of yesterday they have put that example on the CDC website: Web Link
Has anyone heard of an outbreak linked to a hair salon around the world? eg in Australia they have remained open throughout any lockdown and not heard of any outbreaks (there are some there now from bars/pubs that have reopened ) I just tried googling covid and hair salons and can't see any examples of outbreaks. I hope they can do outdoor hairdressing or something. It is also unfortunate that San Mateo is open while Santa Clara is closed. I support Newsom in making things safe but felt that when entire Bay Area had same restrictions it felt more fair. I hope those businesses affected can get some more relief.


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