‘It’s been rough’: Salon owner in Corona reopens, cites lack of help for independent contractors

Local news

A salon owner in Corona reopened her business this week despite a statewide and Riverside County shutdown of nonessential businesses, citing the hardships of independent contractors including the stylists who rent spaces at her salon.

In a video posted on Facebook over the weekend, Lather Studio owner Kira Boranian announced that she was opening her salon on Monday after deep consideration.

“It’s been rough,” Boranian said. “Things have been absolutely crazy in the beauty industry, and it’s important to get some info out there.”

The stylists at her salon are independent contractors who don’t qualify for much of the loans offered by the government thus far, Boranian said.

It wasn’t until Monday that California Labor Secretary Julie Su announced that independent contractors and self-employed individuals who typically don’t qualify for unemployment can start to expect benefits.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that workplaces with “high risk” of infection, including salons, will have to wait “months, not weeks” to reopen.

In Boranian’s video over the weekend, she said she believes that it is her constitutional right to conduct business. This argument was also made by attorneys representing a group of other small businesses in Southern California that have sued local and state officials over the shutdown order.

Boranian assured that her stylists will wear masks and other protective gear, as well as sanitize their stations, as her business stays open.

“I understand that there is going to be some backlash, and I’m OK with that. I am ready for that,” Boranian said. “But I hope that a lot of you can find in your heart so many reasons why you should support us here.”

One of the stylists said in an Instagram post, “I have vulnerable loved ones at home, and I would not be back if I felt that I would be jeopardizing their safety by doing so.”

Boranian has received messages of support on social media, as well as criticism. She told The Press-Enterprise that five of her 22 stylists planned to come in Monday, and that the salon will open again the next day. It’s unclear how many customers have visited the business.

Corona police have “made contact” with Boranian and provided her the county order, per the request of the county official to the Corona City Attorney’s Office, city spokeswoman Cindy Solis told KTLA.

On Tuesday, Solis said Boranian has not voluntarily complied with the order, as encouraged by the city.

Should the salon continue to violate the order, the case may be referred to the county for enforcement, according to Solis.

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