Orange County Barbershop Reopens in Defiance of State COVID-19 Order

May 7, 2020 Updated: May 7, 2020

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (CNS)—The owner of a Laguna Hills barbershop said on May 6 that she and her husband reopened the nonessential business because they were in danger of losing their fledgling shop.

“I called the Chamber of Commerce and Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and they said it is nonenforceable,” said Christine Wood, referring to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.

“They said if I’m going to lose my business, then I should open,” added Wood, who owns The BarberHood in Laguna Hills with her husband, Rick.

The governor’s order, which closed all nonessential businesses, was issued on March 19, in response to the pandemic caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

Wood said she applied several times for aid from the Paycheck Protection Program, but was denied because the store hasn’t been open for at least a year.

“We’ve only been open for seven months,” Wood said. “I applied four times, and within two hours each time I was denied.”

Wood said she and her husband have been supportive of local causes, such as Laguna Hills High School’s football team.

“We do all kinds of fundraisers,” she said. “They know we’ve been good members of this community, and have given back tremendously.”

The Woods tried to think of every precaution possible to protect her employees and customers. Everyone in the shop is required to wear a medical mask, and if a customer does not have one, they are given one for their appointment.

“We sanitize the entire shop between every single client,” said Wood, who reopened her business on May 1.

“The station chairs, the tools, the equipment—all being sanitized before the next client comes. And everyone has to wear a mask, not a bandana or a face scarf, but an actual mask.”

Customers wait outside under a tent before their appointment, Wood said.

“We tried to think of every precaution,” she said.

The barbers have their temperatures taken before their shifts, Wood said.

Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said, “We’re not providing recommendations to businesses. That’s an individual decision each business owner has to make.”

If the sheriff’s department is notified about a nonessential business opening, “We will take appropriate action,” Braun said. “We have discretion within the law on what that appropriate action is.”

Sheriff Don Barnes has consistently said he wants his deputies to seek voluntary compliance, and that they have had much success doing so. The deputies may issue a citation, which carries a fine, if a business will not comply, Braun said.

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said nonessential businesses should not be reopening.

“Our health officer said clearly … that the nonessential business closure order of the governor is the law of the state, and the county is compelled by both the executive order from the governor and the California Department of Health, as well as the regulatory agencies over the particular businesses,” Do said.

“We are compelled to follow those laws. Anybody who invites the public to disregard or ignore the state law is acting irresponsibly, and that irresponsibility is even more egregious when they themselves acknowledge the state law is the controlling law in the state, and they acknowledge that counties do not have discretion to ignore state law.”

Do noted on May 5 that there is a lot of conflicting information about the virus.

“We all have different views about where we are, how ready we are, and how we should proceed as a community, as a state, and as a country,” Do said.

“I don’t envy the people at the state and federal level. They don’t get a chance to say, ‘My bad, I made the wrong call.'”

However, Orange County cannot just go ahead and do what it wants, Do said.

“This view that the law is only legitimate when it agrees with our political view has a corrosive effect on our democracy,” Do said, adding that it will “chip away at our democracy.”

“The rule of law is the only thing that separates America from the chaos and lawlessness we see around the world,” Do said. “We must follow state law, and I will do so until a court tells me otherwise.”

Do said his proposal for reopening businesses in the county is “the opening of a dialogue” with Newsom.

Do wants to move more nonessential businesses into the second phase of retail allowed to reopen. He also encouraged Newsom to try to move up phasing in religious services, with smaller congregations allowing for social distancing.

“We are not asking for a switch to be flipped,” Do said. “We know it’s a dimmer that can go up and down as we see fit.”

 

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s cover-up and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.