San Francisco announced Thursday that the city will allow hair salons, gyms and other personal services to reopen next week, just days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to a shuttered salon sparked an outcry.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the second phase of the city’s reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic would permit business to resume at indoor hair salons, barbershops, massage services and nail salons starting on Sept. 14.
Breed’s office said this week that the businesses that resume indoor services will do so with limited capacity, and will require all employees and customers to wear face coverings at all times.
“These businesses have been struggling, and starting Monday, they’ll finally be able to serve customers again, with the necessary safety precautions and modifications in place,” Breed said in a press release, which acknowledged that this date is “earlier than the city previously announced.”
It is unclear, at this point, whether the controversy involving Pelosi’s visit to a San Francisco hair salon, which had been closed due to local coronavirus guidelines, contributed at all to the accelerated timeline for reopening. But the backlash had included local businesses fuming over the closure policies and pushing to allow a reopening.
Fox News first reported that Pelosi visited ESalonSF last Monday for a wash and blow-out, despite local ordinances keeping salons closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In security footage obtained by Fox News, the California powerhouse was seen walking through ESalonSF in San Francisco with wet hair. The stylist doing her hair could be seen following her wearing a black face mask.
Salons in San Francisco had been closed since March and were only notified they could reopen on Sept. 1 for outdoor hairstyling services only.
The story prompted criticism locally and from Republicans nationally, with President Trump ripping Pelosi for not wearing a mask and following local coronavirus rules while “constantly lecturing everyone else.”
Pelosi dug in over the controversy and claimed that she was “set up” at the hair salon, which she said she had been to “over the years many times.”
“I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I have been to many times,” Pelosi told reporters last week “When they said they could accommodate people one at a time, and we can set up that time, I trusted that.”
“The salon owes me an apology for setting me up,” she added.
Pelosi also downplayed the fact that she didn’t wear a mask in the salon.
“I just had my hair washed. I don’t wear my mask when I’m washing my hair,” she said. “Do you wear one when you wash your hair?”
Erica Kious, the owner of the salon, pushed back, decrying Pelosi’s accusation as “absolutely false.”
"There was no way I could've set that up," Kious said. "I've had a camera system in there for five years. I mean, I didn't go in there and turn cameras on as soon as she walked in and set her up. So that is absolutely false.”
Meanwhile, Kious told Fox News that she will be closing her business in San Francisco for good.
“I am actually done in San Francisco and closing my doors, unfortunately,” she said Wednesday.
Amid the controversy, Kious said she was receiving “a lot of negativity” towards her business, which she said made her hesitant to return.
“I'm actually afraid to go back. ... It’s a little scary and sad,” she said. “I do have a lot of positive calls and text messages from clients. But other than that, nothing but negativity.”