Bakersfield business owner Becky Burum was thinking Thursday about what she would have to do to keep her downtown salon open amid new state restrictions expected to be imposed on Kern County starting Friday.

All salon operations would have to be moved outdoors into the summer heat, for one thing. Burum figures she'd have to rent an expensive tent, secure a new city permit and hope clients will continue to come knowing they can get a haircut but not a shampoo, hair-coloring or much else.

"It's ludicrous for us to do it outside," the owner of Protégé Hair Designs on Truxtun Avenue concluded. "Customers aren't going to come sit outside, either. They're just not."

The state's offer allowing certain establishments to remain open as Kern County locks down again has come as little consolation to local business owners.

Restaurants may be able to serve customers outside — and in recent weeks some have. But owners of gyms, salons and barbershops in the county say there's no practical way for them to continue operating.

WATER, ELECTRICITY

The owner of True Standard Barbershop on California Avenue said if he were going to stay open he'd have to find a way to deliver running water and electricity to a parking lot, neither of which seemed feasible to him, especially considering his shop is located between two restaurants whose customers might not appreciate freshly cut hair blowing into their food.

"It just doesn't make any sense at all," owner Justin Kuster said, adding he's already spent much time and money modifying his space so he could reopen in June.

There's a strong chance some businesses won't ever reopen after the new restrictions take effect, said Nick Ortiz, president and CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.

"This is fundamentally a heartbreaking situation for many local businesses," he said by email Thursday.

‘SHORT SUPPLY’

One problem is the state's new guidance for Kern businesses doesn't set aside regulatory and legal considerations regarding the outdoor use of chemicals, Ortiz said. Businesses need clarity and certainty but "both have been in short supply," he said.

"It is now up to all of us to do what we can to reduce the spread of COVID — only that will get our local economy reopened," he wrote.

The outlook is better for businesses like Greenlawn Funeral Homes and Cemeteries that can interact with the public outdoors without too much trouble.

President Jim LaMar said the company already offers livestreams of funeral services, among other social distancing measures. In addition, he said, services not already scheduled will have to take place outdoors and any crowd exceeding 40 people will have to stay at least 10 feet from the main gathering.

"They've already faced a tragedy of losing a loved one and we don't want to do anything to disrupt that further," he said, adding "it's a fine balance" between helping people feel support during their grief and keeping them safe from COVID-19.

STAYING OPEN

Also expecting to stay open after the imposition of new restrictions is the Outlets at Tejon.

Marketing Director Becky Swiggum said that the outdoor retail center will continue to offer a clean, safe and enjoyable shopping experience.

But she also advised customers to check the mall's website, TejonOutlets.com, "as individual stores may have their own set of rules and guidelines established by their respective corporate offices governing their operation.”

Leigh Pozas, owner of Truxtun Avenue fitness studio FitZone Bakersfield, said she hasn't dismissed the idea of offering some exercise options outdoors. After all, a gym she co-owns in Ventura does.

"I can probably take the spin bikes outside. They're portable enough they can be moved outside," she said. "But is that going to be healthy to be spinning?"

"I'm not ruling it out now ... but it's just so hot,” she added.

‘LAST MAN’

The owner of Strength & Health Gym on 21st Street, Mark Pacheco, plans to make no such concessions. He called the idea of moving a portion of his operation outside "completely unrealistic."

His plan is to avoid conforming and instead become the "last man standing."

"I'm getting tired. It's getting to be trying and very overwhelming," he said. "They're trying to put us out of business. It's basically them against us."

Over at Via Bella Salon & Spa on F Street, front desk worker Brenda Johnson was more measured but similarly pessimistic.

No, she said, customers she knows wouldn't consider getting their hair cut outside because it's too hot this time of year. Many require a more private setting anyway, she said.

Her guess was that many local salons simply won't reopen.

"It's just a bit ridiculous, I think," she said. "I believe that the sickness is real and I believe it's dangerous. But I don't think closing Kern County is going to stop it or ever slow it down."

Follow John Cox on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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(24) comments

Unionpacific

The restrictions are meant to destroy these businesses in order to reset the economy to become part of the 4th "industrial" revolution based on high tech such as 5-G tech and AI. The fact that California has a spike in covid infections proves that masks, social distancing and shutdowns have not worked to contain the virus but has worked to eliminate these kinds of businesses for work-at-home society with smart cities, robotics, expanded e-commerce and e-banking, which require vast amounts of data being streamed constantly. To do that the old economy has to be "reset" for a new one.

casones

YeeHaw! Out with the old, in with the new. Horses and buggies on sale at amazon. Long wait time, but in 10 weeks you'll need them. on-line revolution! Hooray amazon for clearly forecasting a necessity 20 years ago when it was just books. king trump and the trump virus destroy lives and businesses! What did you expect? Reality? From a self proclaimed reality star? YOU'RE FIRED!

Moardeeb

I mean I know the sheltering can stress you out but dude, seek help!

Masked 2020

Mr Google sez....… Newsom continued to implore Californians to avoid social gatherings and to wear masks and socially distance. The California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency released rules allowing hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, massage therapists and estheticians to offer some personal care services outdoors. They can operate under tents, canopies or other shelters so long as no more than one side is enclosed, the agency said, allowing for enough outdoor air movement to deter the buildup or spread of the virus. The rules still bar chemical hair services including shampooing, permanent waving, bleaching, tinting, coloring, dyeing and straightening. Electrolysis, tattooing and piercing also are banned. “I’m open to innovation, I truly am, but how many small businesses are going to be able to afford all of these modifications?” asked Jessie Santiago, the owner of Salon Benders in Long Beach. She planned to buy a shade structure and was considering other equipment she will need.

casones

OMG. Restrictions on businesses? Say it ain't so. Better than the restrictions of a coffin! Okay, you prefer cremation.

Bodysnatcher

The hair stylist makes an interesting point about erecting a tent and work in the heat. If the state mandates barbers and stylists work outside to stay in business and the state allows the workers to erect a tent, doesn't working in a tent defeat the purpose of having to work outside in the first place? Maybe she was thinking of an Easy-Up, but if a tent is allowed (four walls and a roof) it defeats the state mandate.

Bodysnatcher

I should've said a tent defeats the "reason" for the state mandate. Might as well let workers work in their buildings if they service one customer at a time and there's no waiting.

casones

yeah just like baseball, batter up! salons can use the DH rule.

She Dee

Bodysnatcher- I remember hearing a recent news story that specified the "tent" must have 3 open sides for proper airflow. So, it's basically just a shade structure with one side wall! I am more concerned with the businesses who are using fans with a water mist going directly into the faces of their customers. The mist is known to carry the virus and deliver it directly to your mask!...and nearby surfaces!!!

casones

State law does not allow an enclosed tent!

Illumi_Naughty

It's not a state law.

Masked 2020

the pandemic has and will continue to change the world as we knew it.......its definitely going to be survival of the most flexible

casones

according to her, yoga participants are home free.

JR

I'm puzzled. How can so many people, be so stupid. It goes beyond selfish and stubborn. It seems like a true pathology of brain functioning. A major character flaw.

casones

To figure that out, princess McCarthy has instructed kern county health to immediately administer king trump's cognitive tests to all citizens! We WILL find out how many are stupid as the KING

BanditIvy

No one should close. Stay open. They cant arrest everyone

peneumbra

Yes, actually, they can...

Invisable Misfit

And put them ALL where?

Vico17

They'll put all hard working business owners in the cells vacated by hardened criminals released by Democrats because of Covid-19. You see, only hardened criminals are protected by liberal loons who've lost all shame. Their logic is baffling.

casones

DON'T FORGET VICO YOU STILL NEED ROOM FOR ALL THOSE PROTESTORS SERVING 10 YR SENTENCES FOR PEEING ON A STATUE. LOGIC IS BAFFLING TO ALL PLANET OF THE APES REPUBLICANS! UNDER REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP WE ARE FIRST IN THE WORLD FINALLY! NUMBER ONE IN CASES. NUMBER ONE IN DEATHS. NUMBER ONE IN UNEMPLOYMENT. NUMBER ONE IN DEFICIT. NUMBER ONE IN BANKRUPTCIES. NUMBER ONE IN THE SLOWEST REOPENING. BUT HEY REPUBLICANS THAT'S WHAT? 6 GOLD MEDALS. KEEP TRYING YOU CAN CATCH PHELPS!

Vico17

By your logic Republicans are to blame for ...for...for...well? What exactly are you saying? It's difficult to follow your stream of conciousness babble. Republicans are to blame for the China virus? The Republicans are to blame for the shutdown of the economy? For the white cop who killed George Floyd, (Chauvin is a Democrat by the way), in a Democrat-led city (Minneapolis) , in a Democrat-let state (Minnesota)? Sounds to me like NY led the way in deaths in retirement homes thanks to Democrat Cuomo and Democrat Deblasio policies. The Republicans are to blame for CHOP/CHAZ MURDERS in Democrat-led Seattle? We are to blame for Democrat-led Portland anarchist violence? For Democrat-led San Francisco sh#t-on-the-streets and millions spent on homeless drug-fuled parties in free hotel housing. Republicans are to blame for wasting $500 million on facemasks from a Chinese Auto company--(masks were never delivered)? Republicans are to blame for Democrat-led LA? For Democrat-led KC 5th District? Everywhere you see sh#tholes developing you see Democrats. Bottom line, good luck with you logic and you anger management.

RubySue

But the Salons they close will stay closed forever. The licenses they revoke cannot be renewed. It's not just a slap on the wrist. It's a complete and total loss of ability to earn a living.

casones

hahahah. be free. drive under 16 yo. buy liquor under 21. hey teens under 18 not necessary to wait outside smoke shop to beg adult to buy your tobacco. vote at 5 years old. draft 1st graders for our war with china. ban speed limits, and traffic lights. fire the DA laws are unnecessary. apply for college after kindergarten.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

@cajones- keep going King Nothing. Your posts just make you look more and more disjointed by the day.

Seek help- you can get it free by contacting DHS...

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