Southern California nail salons are donating tens of thousands of masks and gloves to healthcare workers after closing under the state’s stay-at-home order.
A group of salons has collected about 75,000 paper masks and 280,000 gloves, supplies they usually use to protect against powders and polishes, in an initiative they’re calling "Nailing It."
Demand for medical supplies has skyrocketed because of the coronavirus pandemic, with hospitals looking for opportunities to replenish their supply.
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"I heard stories last week about nurses and doctors working in the ER and ICU without masks, so we made an effort to donate as much as we can… all of our stock we have left," said Johnny Ngo, owner of Whale Spa.
Tam Nguyen, who runs Advance Beauty College, said his school is now closed and his graduates have no jobs. They’re not alone. There are 6,000 nail salons in Southern California, with about 30,000 technicians out of work, according to the Professional Nail Association.
But Nguyen believes they can still act – in fact, he considers donating supplies a calling for the industry.
"We connected the dots and said, 'You know what? We can do something about this,'" he said. "When I heard [what others were doing], I wanted to be part of it."
Nailing It organizers said most nail salons across the United States are owned by Vietnamese Americans. Besides encouraging salon owners to help, they hope to inspire other professionals, such as dentists and orthodontists who are not working, to donate supplies as well.
"In a crisis like this, we get to see kindness is amplified," Nguyen said. "The giving nature in people and humans is unbelievable."