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Did Coronavirus Start In A Nail Salon?



Lately, the nail industry has been the subject of some negative press. As members of this community, we want nail pros to keep themselves educated. Stay informed and get ahead of the rumors that have the potential to harm our business reputations. Be prepared to discuss any client concerns in regards to the news and defend our livelihoods. With that said and with no intention of being political, we want to state something that is oftentimes not so obvious. The news, newspapers and television networks are a business. Headlines are meant to be alarmist and trigger fear; that is how the news is packaged and sold. It’s important to remember this so that you can provide your clients the necessary assurances, especially when news works to heighten anxiety within the public in order to act as click bait and provide a return on investment for advertisers.

In early May, our society scrambled to understand the ways in which we might move forward and reopen our economy in the presence of Covid-19. We were two months into a statewide stay at home order and daily life was up-ended indefinitely. We looked to and entrusted our elected officials to take the lead, to insure our safety, and keep us informed. The pandemic news coverage was/is the source of a lot of information, sometimes valuable and sometimes damaging. The details and situation as they say remains fluid, constantly changing. Many news outlets offering sound bites where real data and facts commingled with some less substantiated evidence. It was in this setting that California Governor Gavin Newsom made an off hand comment at the end of a live press briefing that would send ripples of fear and anxiety within the nail industry. The headlines on CNBC and other mainstream media channels stated: “California identifies nail salons as source of coronavirus community spread, Gov. Newsom says.”

The governor spoke to the press for several minutes outlining plans for a safe state-wide relaxing of Stay At Home orders, called the Resilience Roadmap. In response to a direct question by a reporter, Newsom’s actual quote, “This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon. “I’m very worried about that.” There in one fell swoop, the nail industry was red-flagged with no other details provided stating privacy issues. Nail salons would remain closed until Stage 3 alongside other high risk businesses. Other beauty industry counterparts like barber shops and hair salons were given the green light in Stage 2/2.5. It remains unclear why exactly.

The coronavirus is affecting every country, every city and every state. It is everywhere affecting the regular population, high profile personalities, and even heads of states. No one is immune. Before we get too carried away, we have to remember, the virus didn’t just manifest itself in the salon out of thin air; it was brought there by someone unknowingly affected by the virus. Who that person was is unclear and it is only single instance in 80,000 known coronavirus cases in the state of California at the time that could be traced.

Contact tracing is one part of the equation to keep the public safe from community spread. It has been effectively used in places like Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong to flatten the curve. For every city, there will be a different pinpoint and patient zero of community spread. In Washington State, contact tracing has found cases of community spread originating at choir practice infecting 52 people. In Massachusetts, Biogen, a premier biotech/drug company, held a leadership conference in February for more than a hundred of its executives resulting in the infection of over 99 people (employees and family members) across the country. In Chicago, cases of community spread could be traced to a large funeral gathering. Abroad for most of Europe, community spread among hundreds of people can be traced back to an Austrian ski resort. These are large group gatherings. In the instance of nail salons, the setting is different. It is often one on one and we have better control over close contact. We can look at any problems that may arise from this level of “intimacy” with awareness and move forward with planned preventative measures.

At this point, community spread is inevitable. Finger pointing and making direct allegations and accusations about nail salons is irresponsible without further details or specific documentation. Thanks for alerting us to the potential problem, how about offering us distinct solutions? We all must play a part in keeping everyone in our community safe. We must do our part in hand washing, sanitizing, social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment. The governor and the media was careless. So now more than ever, it’s important to always question the source and look at the information you receive from every angle. Approach it like an elementary school student learns how to write a book report, ask the questions, Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? Break the statement down. In the news headline, it states “nail salons”, as a source of coronavirus community spread. The most problematic and ignorant part of the headline is the pluralization of the word salon implies, all nail salons are the source of coronavirus community spread.

Hang in there nail professionals. We believe in you. The nail business is not going down the drain; to succeed in this business requires us to adapt and rise to the occasion. It always has. This is not the first time our health and safety standards have been called into question. While we cannot control what is said about us, we can take the lead in being educated and stopping the flow of miseducation. We’re proud of all of you who have pushed backed and banded together. We firmly believe that nail pros and the nail industry are worthy of respect because it is an industry known for providing an equal opportunity for anyone to achieve financial independence regardless of background.

**This is an adaptation from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube, “BIZ TALK: DID CORONAVIRUS START IN A NAIL SALON?

***Follow our YN YouTube Channel and click here to watch the full discussion: