Soha Sadighim, the owner of the Luxe Nail and Spa Boutique in Mid-Wilshire, has been preparing for this day for weeks, purchasing masks and gloves and installing glass barriers at the manicure stations.

But she was hardly prepared to handle an overwhelming volume of phone calls from customers, all eager to get their first professional manicure in three months.

“We’ve been very busy,” she said. “Our customers are desperate to get their nails done.”

Friday, June 19, has marked the latest scramble by businesses to reopen following Los Angeles County’s announcement that they can welcome their customers back after the months-long closure.

Starting Friday, skincare and cosmetology services, tattoo parlors, microblading, permanent make-up, piercing shops, massage therapy and bars, wineries and breweries were allowed to reopen their doors.

But business leaders wished county officials had given shop owners some lead time on the reopening timeline, allowing them to rehire workers and purchase supplies to better prepare for customers’ return.

Public health “keeps letting them know on Friday that they can open up and expecting them to be able to do it,” said  Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association. “If they’d let them know on Monday that they can open up on the following Friday, that would work. But the government doesn’t work that way.”

As of Friday afternoon, dozens of nail parlors across the county remained closed.

Waldman added many businesses have been struggling financially and are ready to reopen, but the county’s short notice “makes it almost impossible for them to open up this weekend… People just don’t understand how businesses work.”

Still, nail parlor operators said they were ready to follow the county’s guidelines and implement new health rules, including requiring customers to wear masks and wash their hands before a manicure.

While waiting for the county officials’ announcement, some nail salon owners said they’ve been beefing up supplies of face shields and masks and implementing new measures such as cleaning chairs between client visits, installing hand sanitizer stations and offering discounts to front-line workers.

“Our business is 10-minute (eyebrow threading) services, so we used to be really busy and lined up,” said Sumi Malla, manager of Namaste Beauty Lounge in Monrovia. “Now, since we have six feet apart (social distancing requirements), we are just taking appointments, no walk-ins.”

Since opening up this morning, it hardly has been as busy as before the pandemic began, Malla added.

“We will see how long we can survive,” she said. “We don’t know if we can survive or not.”

Sadighim said she had heard that she would be allowed to welcome customers on Friday and started calling them early this week, encouraging to book an appointment. She also began ordering glass barriers to separate the stations and protect the customers and employees, she said.

And while following the regulations and purchasing masks have caused a dip in her revenue, she said, she was ready to follow the rules.

“We will see how it goes,” she said.

Despite the new measures, the feedback from the customers has been positive, she added.

“They see how we sanitize tables and chairs,” she said. “They are very happy that we’re keeping them safe.”

Staff writer Ashley Fan contributed to this report. 

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