State Watch List

Struggling Salon Owner Defies County Health Order, Stays Open During Pandemic

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A South Bay hair salon owner said he has no choice but to defy county orders to shut his business down.

The move comes less than two weeks after another high-profile salon standoff ended with a visit from police.

One of the owners of Bella Bal-Lance Salon said they are not hiding the fact that they are open and working. In addition, the business has not been approached by any law enforcement to shut down.

"It's not even about the fact of just us being open to fight back," salon owner Brandon Bal-Lance said. "I want it to be known that we're struggling out here. I have to pay rent."

Bal-Lance is the co-owner of the Bella Bal-Lance Salons in Santa Clara and Saratoga. He is keeping the businesses open despite specific orders from the county to shut down.

"I would rather get in trouble," he said. "I would rather them arrest me."

Bal-Lance said he cannot follow the county's closure order because he has bills to pay.

"The consequence at this time will be bigger for me to lose my business by me filing for bankruptcy and me losing both my businesses that my family has worked so hard to build," he said.

Santa Clara County is one of more than 30 counties on the governor's COVID-19 watch list. The only way a hair salon can stay open in a county on the watch list is if they work outside.

That's not the kind of service Lyndsay Bennett wants to pay for.

"Being outside -- you're paying full price and you're paying for an unsanitary space," she said. "You're in the hot sun."

Bal-Lance said they cannot shampoo hair outside or provide chemical services like coloring -- and that is a deal breaker.

"That's what pays my rent," Bal-Lance said. "That's what pays for all of this and if I'm not able to do color, cutting is not that valuable here."

In the last four months, Bal-Lance said he has owed more than $50,000 in rent for his two salons and the bills keep piling up.

He is now hoping the state and county do not enforce the closure orders and that famous celebrity hairstylists step up and speak out about keeping the industry open.

"I'm struggling every day to survive and trying to think of ways to feed my family," Bal-Lance said.

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