Coronavirus shutdowns hitting Vietnamese-owned nail salons

Tracy Tran’s years of savings are gone. Most went into the nearly $13,500 monthly rent she says she’s been paying for her shuttered business since March, when coronavirus public health orders forced her to close. La Orquidea Salon and Spa has been sitting empty ever since on busy North Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos. So have most of the state’s roughly 11,000 other nail salons.

“It’s hard to tell how long we can keep up, maybe one month,” said Tran, a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant who lives in San Jose with her husband, two children and three elderly relatives. “I have 22 employees who also have families. On behalf of each of us, we need help.” 

While most of the state’s businesses have been able to resume some activity, nail salons have remained largely closed under state and local health orders since the start of the pandemic. In most of the Bay Area, as well as Sacramento and Southern California, where cases remain widespread under the state’s new color-coded reopening system, nail salons are not yet allowed to reopen indoors. For many, outdoor operations aren’t an option.

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