Beauty businesses aside from hair and nail salons ask for consideration to reopen indoors


HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s been one week since some businesses were allowed to reopen under Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s COVID-19 recovery framework.

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The businesses that were allowed to reopen under the tiered system included hair and nail salons, but other beauty services were only allowed to operate outdoors.

Estheticians say that they follow the same industry standards as hair and nail salons, so they should be allowed to reopen indoors too.

“If a wax salon has the beauty shop designation, just like a hair salon, just like a nail salon, we should be allowed to open. We should be allowed to operate,” said European Wax Center owner Jennifer Pang.

Under the COVID-19 Recovery Framework, estheticians fall under personal care services. In tier one, they are allowed to open, but their service has to be done outside. However, many estheticians say this isn’t a viable option for their clients.

Deidre Harvie, who owns eyelash business Zoe Lash Pro, said doing her eyelash service outside is impossible.

“The [eyelash] adhesive is very temperature sensitive. So, if we’re outside in [Hawaii] weather, in this summer in this heat, in the 80s and 90s, it doesn’t work well,” said Harvie.

The City and County of Honolulu said in a statement:

“It has been a challenging process to decide how and when to reopen safely … Honolulu’s COVID-19 Recovery Framework is designed to allow “low risk” businesses and operations to reopen in Tier One based on public health concerns.”

However, Harvie said that they have the same risks as salons. They also took the same precautions back when they were allowed to reopen before the second shutdown, like requiring masks, wearing gloves and using face shields.

“I think that people and the government are thinking we’re face to face. We’re in their face. That is not true. We’re actually sitting behind them which is similar to a hair stylist, right?” said Harvie.

For Pang’s business, European Wax Center, they eliminated their waiting rooms, and they were letting people in by appointment before the closure. Pang said that they even added additional time between appointments to let sanitation procedures sink in.

“Our wax suites are set up to have the absolute most sanitation and health and safety procedures in place. Our wax spot is where it is, we have barbicide. We have all the different cleaners. We actually built time into the schedules for additional cleaning,” said Pang.

However, since many estheticians are unable to do their services outside, Pang said that it’s only a matter of time before the money runs out.

“We only furloughed our employees because we did not want them to have the added panic of not having healthcare. So we’re paying for their health care out of our pocket,” said Pang. “But how do we pay the healthcare? How do we pay the rent? How do we keep this business afloat that’s employing nearly 50 people on Oahu when you have arbitrary rules that make no medical sense when our services are 15 minutes, or shorter and a hair appointment is three hours?”

Under Mayor Caldwell’s COVID-19 Recovery Framework, estheticians will be allowed to reopen indoors in tier two, but there is no confirmed date as to when that may be. 

“I’m not very confident that tier two will happen in October,” said Pang.

She said that they will be waiting and watching anxiously until the City and County of Honolulu moves into the second tier.

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