coronavirus

Barbershop Owner Risks It All by Defying Shutdown Order

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The owner of Fades and Blades, a barbershop with locations in Burbank and Valley Glen, says he will remain closed on Thursday for indoor haircuts, but says he got the landlord's approval to set up canopies outside that he hopes will allow him to continue to make money in case the state and local leaders decide for another full shutdown due to COVID-19.

The LA County Department of Public Health paid a visit on a tip from someone complaining that the barbershop remained open even after the governor ordered a second shutdown.

Owner Steve Kharazian tried to plead with the health officer, pointing to the new protocols they have in place to keep customers and employees safe.

In the end it didn't change anything. The governor ordered barbershops and hair salons to close indoor services last week – and then this week changed licensing laws to allow for outdoor services.

"He felt the heat from a lot of salons and barbershops and tattoo shops, everyone," Kharazian says. Fades and Blades' Valley Glen location took advantage of that but in Burbank, Kharazian says it wasn't an option. "Yeah, we all knew this was a possibility. But you know what? In the one week we protested, we were all over instagram and the internet. You know how many different shop owners gave me support and I want to thank every single one of you guys. I love you for that."

Surveillance video shows the moment the health officer arrived. Three customers weren't allowed to even finish their hair cuts.

"It's not fair, but I just gotta see what we gotta do," Kharazian says.

Kharazian says since his protest started last week, people had posted fake reviews on-line and he believes someone complained to the county.

"Just complaining that COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. Well, you know what, the governor is allowing us to work so you guys need to mind your own business. If you're scared then stay home."

But he risks losing everything if the protest were to continue.

"If I don't close, I'm facing them taking my license, shop license, court orders, a lot of bad stuff obviously."

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