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Re:Work Institute for Worker Justice

A Survey of Nail Salon Workers and Owners in California During COVID-19

By: Lucero Herrera, Saba Waheed, Kean Flowers, Lisa Fu, Dung Nguyen Caroline Nguyen

The devastating impacts of COVID-19 on the nail salon industry are highlighted in “A Survey of Nail Salon Workers and Owners in California During COVID-19,” a new report by the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and the UCLA Labor Center (a unit of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment). Though the majority of owners and workers desire to return to work as soon as possible, they expressed significant concern over health and safety upon reopening. In fact, 70% of owners responded that they needed clear guidelines and financial support to be able to safely reopen and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Among other findings, the report notes:

  • Over 90% of workers applied for unemployment benefits, while almost half need support in applying for and obtaining such aid.
  • Only 6% of owners were able to keep their workers on payroll.
  • Both workers (61%) and owners (43%) are most worried about health and safety upon reopening.
  • 70% of owners want clear guidelines on health and safety and 69% need additional funds to modify their salons

The report offers a set of recommendations to ensure that nail salons can be effectively supported to safely reopen without posing health risks to workers and the wider public:

  1. Provide comprehensive health and safety guidelines and tools for reopening.
  2. Issue a campaign to counter xenophobia, stereotyping, discrimination, and violence in nail salons.
  3. Develop strong workers protections in context of reopening and through the long term.
  4. Provide economic relief and financial support to aid in nail salon industry reopening.

The following general guidelines were created by the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, for nail salon staff and clients to take steps to protect themselves from diseases such as Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Media links:

Allure | How Does a Manicure Robot Fit Into an Industry Full of Human Nail Technicians?

LA Business Journal | At LA’s Nail Salons, Latest Lockdown Cuts to the Quick

Huffpost | What Nail Salon Workers Want You To Know Before Making Your Next Appointment

Refinery 29 | California Governor Says A Nail Salon Started COVID-19 Spread — & Workers Are Devastated

VOX | “Putting their life on the line doing your nails”: What salon workers face in the pandemic

Marketplace | Nail salon industry faces COVID-19 challenges as economies reopen

Los Angeles Times | Post-coronavirus lockdown, customers welcome back a Fullerton nail salon, precautions and all

The New Yorker | What Returning to Work Means in the Nail Salons of Orange County

AAJA Voices | Exploited Esthetics: How Asian American Beauty Workers are Organizing

Related links:

Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States


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