Late last Friday, celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson and uber-colorist Jason Backe announced that they had retained civil rights attorney and trial lawyer Mark Geragos along with The Professional Beauty Federation of California [PBFC] in their fight to re-open salons. Today, the duo plans to re-open their LA-based salon, Starring, which has been closed for five months due to the Coronavirus.

Ted and Jason maintain that their salon is the world’s first smart salon—powered by Amazon and Alexa—and respects social distancing with salon chairs located more than six feet apart, enforces an appointment-only rule, is a cashless business, and operates without a retail area or a front desk.

Through this public act of re-opening their salon, which is located at 211 ½ South La Brea Avenue, Ted and Jason are looking to raise awareness of the salon industry’s plight on both a local and national level. Hair, nail and skin salons have been ordered to remain closed by California’s governor, Gavin Newsom.

“As an industry that is often overlooked, we will not be overlooked anymore. We are licensed in sanitation, anatomy and physiology. We are opening Starring by Ted Gibson because we will not let ours and other small businesses die,” said Ted.

Fred Jones, an attorney for PBFC, said, “On March 26, Governor Newsom responded to legal and political pressure by opening up hair and barbershops, followed later by nail and skin services. However, on July 13, the Governor reversed his position yet again. At the same time, he offered what became largely an empty gesture of allowing some limited services to be done outside our shuttered salons, spas and shops. Unfortunately, the result of these on-again, off-again, partial shutdowns have been a huge rise in bankruptcies and even larger percentages of underground services, which risk the financial security of our licensed professionals and health of our beloved clientele. The safest and most responsible salons are getting hit the worst by these prolonged shutdowns, since they are unwilling to do clandestine services in homes and cannot perform their high-level services outside under a tent. They prioritize safety and have remained in compliance with lockdown orders that have unfairly targeted our safe industry, which do not take into consideration our extensive training in cross-contamination, disinfection and sanitation protocols.”

Jason added, “Our state government has classified salons and hairdressers as dirty and dumb. We are licensed professionals who are trained in sanitation protocol and at Starring by Ted Gibson we are taking a stand to make sure that our voices are heard to save our small business and hairdressing community.”

On behalf of the professional industry, Mark said, “As a civil rights attorney who’s dedicated 37 years to protecting ‘the little guy and gal’ from unconstitutional and unfair treatment by much more powerful and abusive government agencies, my heart goes out to the beauty industry most of all. They are an industry built upon formal education and training and state licensure that assures consumer protection; yet the same state that has given them their license to service their clients have now prevented them from working for five months, while large multinational corporate retailers and other so-called ‘essential businesses’ have not been locked down one single day.”

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