Nail Salon Group to Sue Governor's Office Over COVID-19 Claim

Salon owners are outraged over the governor’s statement COVID-19 community spread started in a nail salon and demand to reopen.

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A nail salon industry group says it will sue Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office to get court-ordered guidelines for salons to reopen and a targeted reopening date.

This comes after nail salon owners told NBC Bay Area they were outrage to learn the governor’s prior assertion community spread of COVID-19 started in a nail salon was wrong. Potential community transmission may have occurred earlier, state health officials say.

Pro Nail Association, a nail industry organization based in Irvine, took to the streets Monday to make the announcement about their efforts to file the lawsuit. Mike Vo, an attorney with the association, says nail salon owners feared the governor’s comments would cause anti-Asian backlash against the already wounded industry, that’s largely owned by minority individuals. 

“There are a lot of people in the community who are now nervous about entering a nail salon, and the governor’s statement was completely unfounded,” Vo said.

NBC Bay Area has reached out to Governor Newsom’s office several times after first reporting on the issue Friday. Newsom’s office has not responded to our questions but shared our inquiry with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

A CDPH spokesperson told NBC Bay Area Monday:

“The first known community spread of COVID-19 in California was detected in a nail salon. However, as some counties review autopsies, we are beginning to learn that potential community transmission may have been taking place earlier than previously known, and before the CDC had developed adequate testing capacity and protocols.”

Tam Nguyen with Nailing It for America, a nail industry advocacy group, says CDPH’s statement further angered his community because it did not address their concerns.

“[Newsom’s] statement was erroneous and irresponsible,” Nguyen said.

Pro Nail Association plans to file their lawsuit by the end of next week.

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