California identifies nail salons as source of coronavirus community spread

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says that salons will not be part of the initial re-opening plans

(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Smirnoff Ice)

While other states begin to allow different establishments to reopen, California Gov. Gavin Newsom says they’ve traced the spread of the coronavirus in the state and confirmed it began in a nail salon.

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Thursday, Newsom announced a four-phase plan to begin reopening the state’s economy that would launch on Friday. Unlike some other governors who have opted to reopen nail salons, in California that wouldn’t be allowed until the state’s phase 3. California has just begun to shift into phase 2.


“This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon,” Newsom said at a news briefing. “I’m very worried about that.”

Newsom also added that state health directors have also put several “red flags” on nail salons, delegating them as high-risk businesses much like gyms and hair salons. Businesses considered low-risk like bookstores and warehouses will be reopening with modifications like curbside pick up.

Salon owners like Michelle Saunders James of Saunders and James Nail Care in Oakland, California told CNN she was “shocked” by the governor’s claims.

“Had they known that this was the situation, absolutely zero information was ever sent to any nail care people in the industry at all,” she said in an interview. “It was very scary to hear that.”

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“I am just intuitively kind of following the rules of what a nurse would wear or a physician, or something that is more in the medical field,” she continued. “Because if you’re comfortable enough to go to the dentist, or go in to see your physician, then if we’re wearing the same thing and our environment is as sterile and sanitized as a medical office, then why wouldn’t the customer feel comfortable getting a manicure in that situation?”

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