Armed officers from the enforcement division of the Department of Consumer Affairs marched into the Pomp Hair Salon in Stockton, east of San Francisco on Wednesday.
The seven-year-old salon was in full swing and packed with both customers and stylists alike as the business blatantly continued to ignore an order by the state’s Board of Barbering and Cosmetology which required them to shut down several weeks ago, until at least the first week of January.
Vicki Kirk and Dino Ballin, husband and wife owners say it was a humiliating experience.
Vicki Kirk and Dino Ballin, husband and wife owners of Pomp Salon in Stockton, California say they will continue to operate their salon despite coronavirus restrictions ordering them closed
Five enforcement officers from the division of the Department of Consumer Affairs entered the salon and issued three citations on Wednesday. The salon remained open
‘About five armed state police officers burst into our salon shouting drop everything you’re doing. Stop, you’re being shut down,’ said Kirk to ABC10.
‘They burst into our salon and they treated it like a drug raid,’ she said to Fox 40.
‘It was one of the worst days of my life to have that scene happen in our salon when we are only trying to work.’
‘If there were any evidence that we should close, we would close, absolutely. There is virtually zero evidence to support the closure of our industry,’ Ballin stated.
‘These stylists were promised assistance by the government that they never got. In some cases, some of my stylists downstairs, still to this day, have not gotten any assistance since March, since the closures in March,’ he added.
The enforcement officers were present for more than hour as they spoke with staff
Whether or not the salon will face charges will be left up to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office. The salon could end up losing its operational license
‘It was one of the worst days of my life to have that scene happen in our salon when we are only trying to work.’ said co-owner Vicki Kirk
‘If there were any evidence that we should close, we would close, absolutely. There is virtually zero evidence to support the closure of our industry,’ said co-owner Dino Ballin
‘I just want to earn a living and we all want to do it safely,’ Kirk added. ‘We have strict safety protocols here, and we will continue to do so.
‘We just want to keep our homes. We just want to feed our families.’
After the initial restrictions came into force in March, the salon eventually reopened after hair stylists begged for work.
The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology say that the violation of the emergency order could result in the salon losing its license.
‘The Board strongly encourages licensees, as well as the public, to comply with the applicable Regional Stay-at-Home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19,’ a statement from the board read.
The owners of Pomp Salon believe they were singled out because they are outspoken.
The couple who own it insist they are not doing anything wrong and claim there is no risk of the disease spreading in their hair salon
Customers and hair stylists could only but listen as the enforcement agency threatened to close the salon down
The hair salon has been open for seven years and employs more than 40 hair stylists
The pair are of the opinion that they are not spreading the virus and believe businesses that remain are open are no more likely to spread the virus.
‘There’s these people in authority who are setting these restrictions for our citizens who are not following it themselves,’ Ballin said.
‘We don’t want to be doing this, any of this. We don’t want to be doing this interview today. We just want to open and work. We just want our rights,’ Ballin he continued.
He has vowed to remain open and keep the salon’s 43 staff employed even if it means losing their state license to operate.
The owners of Pomp Salon have posted to Instagram declaring they are operating ‘safely’
The Department of Consumer Affairs reported how three citations were issued which will now be sent to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office for further action.
“The Board has conducted approximately 14,000 inspections at licensed establishments since the beginning of the pandemic. Any establishment that doesn’t comply with the public health orders that have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 may be subject to disciplinary action. Licensees that violate public health orders may be subject to disciplinary action against their license,’ the Department of Consumer Affairs said in statement.
The couple say that they have received support from the community with several attorneys saying they will represent them for free should they need legal assistance going forward.