Hefty Fines Not Enough To Deter SF Spa Owner From Reopening

With no new opening date in sight for beauty salons in San Francisco, some stylists have gone underground, taking matters into their own hands even as city inspectors come knocking.

At the Bush St. branch of reWAXation, the sign in the window reads "We Are Open." Another one on the door directs clients to check in via text and wait outside for their appointment, all part of enhanced safety measures.

Owner Shayana Flick said Monday’s reopening went well, but it wasn’t just clients showing up.

"It’s a little stressful because we are dealing with people coming by and serving us orders," Flick told KCBS Radio.

The city's orders mandate the salon close or face potential misdemeanor charges and up to $1,000 in fines for every day they are open.

reWAXation Owner Shayana Flick stands in front her business, which opened Monday in defiance of San Francisco's health orders.
Kathy Novak/KCBS Radio

"The thought of reopening to be hit with $1000 fine is really stressful, but we just have no other options at this point," Flick added.

She said that’s because business loans have run out and staff are facing reduced unemployment payments. Even if San Francisco allowed outdoor salon services, Flick said that just wouldn’t work

"We do (Brazilian waxes) and our clients wouldn’t want to get it and our neighbors wouldn’t want us doing it," Flick said. "So that’s definitely not an option for us."

Flick vows to stay open and fight orders from the city.

She’s supporting other business owners around the state who are also reopening through the Facebook group Open Safe California.

Flick owns two San Francisco branches of reWAXation and another in Austin, Texas. A sign in the shop’s window explains their Austin location has seen "over 3,000 clients" since May 8 with no COVID-19 cases traced back to that salon.

"We are not the industry you’re looking for," the sign added.

In response to this story, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management sent KCBS Radio the following statement:

"We know that the extended closure of certain businesses has been difficult, which is why the City has intentionally and increasingly targeted its grant and loan relief funds to reach businesses like salons and other personal services that have been prohibited from reopening. San Francisco would like to open up more parts of society when it is safe to do so, which is not right now. We are on the state watch list.

That means we can't consider indoor personal services such as haircuts and waxing at this time. These kinds of activities pose a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission because of the amount of time staff and clients are in close proximity indoors, and the reality that people who feel well can still infect others. We understand people are frustrated. Don't let that frustration lead to risking people's lives. We are going to get through this by working together."